Are political orientations genetically transmitted?
November 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
Individual genes for behaviors do not exist and no one denies that humans have the capacity to act against genetic predispositions. But predictably dissimilar correlations of social and political attitudes among people with greater and lesser shared genotypes suggest that behaviors are often shaped by forces of which the actors themselves are not consciously aware, a point that is made with some force by Bargh and Chartrand (1999), Marcus (2002), Marcus, Neuman, and MacKuen (2000), McDermott (2004), and Wegner (2002). It is not biological determinism to posit the existence of complex collections of genes that increase the probability that certain people will display heightened or deadened response patterns to given environmental cues. And it is not antibehavioralism to suggest that true explanations of the source of political attitudes and behaviors will be found when we combine our currently detailed understanding of environmental forces with a recognition that genetic variables subtly but importantly condition human responses to environmental stimuli.
From a 2005 study – Alford, J., et al. 2005. “Are political orientations genetically transmitted?” American Political Science Review.
Certainly a very emotional and political topic in itself, but the study includes some convincing evidence for the strong correlations between genetic similarity and development of political attitudes. The quoted paragraph probably strikes closest to my own conceptualization of what genetic determinism and social construction mean in observable behavior and attitudes.