The Biology of Ideology: Voting and Genes
Jordan Yerman | September 5, 2008 at 10:15 amby
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Scientists are looking towards our genes to learn more about which way we vote, or whether or not we even choose to do so.
In a wave of new research since the last presidential campaign, political scientists are using the tools of behavioral genetics to better understand how and why we vote. Certainly, no single gene can identify an entire electorate. But "in a broad sense, biology shapes all of human behavior," says New York University social psychologist John Jost, "and that has to include political behavior.
By matching extensive electronic voter records to documented patterns of heredity among twins, researchers found tantalizing hints that up to half of the variation in our attitudes toward issues and our voting practices can be traced to a political psyche shaped by genetic traits. Even the intensity of our partisan passions may be partly inherited, although our choice of political parties is not, researchers concluded.
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