Monday, October 15, 2012

Your Genes May Determine Your Politics More Than You Realize.

Source: The Economist
I quote from an article in The Economist:
In the matter of both political outlook and political participation it is coming to be seen that genes matter quite a lot. They are not the be-all and end-all. But, as a review of the field published in September in Trends in Genetics, by Peter Hatemi of Pennsylvania State University and Rose McDermott of Brown University, shows, they affect a person’s views of the world almost as much as his circumstances do, and far more than many social scientists have been willing, until recently, to admit........ 
Dr Hatemi and Dr McDermott pored over 89 peer-reviewed papers on the effects of genes and environment (both family upbringing and wider circumstances) on political matters. These included twins’ political knowledge, their attitudes to racial, sexual and religious questions, their views on defence and foreign policy, and their identification with particular political parties. 
On all counts, identical twins were found to be more alike than fraternal twins. That knowledge, refracted through the prism of statistical theory, allows calculations of the proportionate influences of genes, family environment and general environment on particular traits to be made (see chart).
I have been pointing out that we think with our brains, not just our conscious minds. The result quoted above suggests that our brains process information based on (some of) our genes. Not surprising since we know that a lot of conditions that effect thinking are hereditary, or caused by genetic defects.

One wonders, however, it there are more people with genetically determined preferential probability of being liberals choose to live in blue states while those genetically likely to be conservatives live in red states. Of course, it may be that it is simply the family history and general environment that are sufficient to give the boost to a state's population to determine whether it is reliably red or blue. 

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