Do Genes Determine Intensity Of Political Beliefs?:


New research in Political Research Quarterly suggests that there may be a reason for this political fervor, and it’s not what you’d expect. Peter Hatemi, John Alford, John Hibbing, Nicholas Martin and Lindon Eaves determined that partisan intensity is genetically influenced. Their research suggests that although your genes don’t predict which party you’ll belong to, they appear to play a major role in determining the extent to which you’ll belong.

By their reckoning, genes are half responsible for the degree of your party commitment — unique experience counts for the other half.

Their finding reinforces earlier research conducted by James Fowler and Christopher Dawes that shows that people with certain genetic variations are less likely to participate in political activities like voting (see “Is the GOP in your DNA?”).

Family ties, long thought to play a role in determining political affinities, had no significant effect on partisan intensity. So it was your parents’ genes, and not your childhood dinner-table conversations with them, that dictate your political conviction (or lack thereof).

However, genetics play an insignificant role in determining what party you’ll belong to, especially compared to environmental influences like parental affiliation, so you shouldn’t dismiss the impact of Dad’s rants altogether.

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