Your political party might be in your genes

Posted By Cameron On December 28, 2009 - 8:00pm

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC (Dec 28, 2010) Genetics play a pivotal role in shaping how individual's identify with political parties , according to an article in a recent issue of Political Research Quarterly, the official journal of the Western Political Science Association (published by SAGE).

Political party identification (PID) is among the most studied concepts in modern political science. Scholars have long held that PID was the result of socialization factors, including parental socialization. The possibility that partisan identification could be transmitted genetically rather than socially was not considered and largely left untested.

Using quantitative genetic models, the authors of the article "Is There a 'Party' in Your Genes?' (Peter K. Hatemi, John R. Alford, John R. Hibbing, Nicholas G. Martin, and Lindon J. Eaves) examine the sources of party identification and the intensity of that identification. Together with recent examinations of political attitudes and vote choice, their findings begin to provide a more complete picture of the source of partisanship and the complex nature of the political phenotype.

This article is part of a mini-symposium entitled "The Scientific Analysis of Politics." Top scholars, using evolutionary psychological and biological frameworks, provide fresh approaches to the study of politics and political behavior. .

"What are the best approaches and methodologies toward a scientific study of politics?" write guest editors Rose McDermott and Kristen Renwick Monroe. "We do not mean to reactivate a no longer productive debate about nature versus nurture, since it now seems clear that both forces operate in tandem. Rather by encompassing both facets—nature and nurture—into an integrated perspective, we believe it is possible to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of human political behavior."

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