A Moment of Science

Are Your Political Views Genetic?

A new study suggests that a 'liberal gene' may have a role in determining your political views!

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Photo: Kate Sumbler (fickr)

Are political views biologically or socially determined? Maybe both!

Could it be that our genes play some role in shaping our political views? It is certainly an interesting question and one that has never really been explored by scientific study, until now!

The ‘Liberal Gene’

Research by the University of California and Harvard University has found that a certain dopamine receptor gene, called DRD4, may predispose individuals to certain political views.

In the study, subjects that had a specific variant of DRD4 were more likely to be liberal as adults. However, this was only true if the person had an active social life growing up.  This study is a good example of how biological and social aspects of our lives are both important to our mental development.

Political Personality

Dopamine plays a big role in our brain. It controls movement, emotion, and our experiences of pleasure and pain. One variant form is specifically linked to novel-seeking behavior.

It is not to say that all liberals are thrill-seekers, and vise versa. However, certain personality traits are likely to affect which political ideologies are appealing to you. Genes, as well as environment, are what help shape these traits and ideas.

The parts of your brain and personality that eventually help make political decisions begin developing long before you fill out your first ballot!

Read More:

  • Researchers Find a ‘Liberal Gene’ (EurekAlert)

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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