Wednesday, June 22, 2005

It's in Your Genes

Not sure what to make of this.

It's about study published in the American Political Science Review which says it finds that our tendancy to be liberal or conservative (or, I assume, libertarian or whackaloon Nazi or whatnot) lies not in ourselves, Cassius, but in our genes.

It's another one of those twin studies. Clones again.

In the study, three political scientists - Dr. John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska, Dr. John R. Alford of Rice University and Dr. Carolyn L. Funk of Virginia Commonwealth - combed survey data from two large continuing studies including more than 8,000 sets of twins.
From an extensive battery of surveys on personality traits, religious beliefs and other psychological factors, the researchers selected 28 questions most relevant to political behavior. The questions asked people "to please indicate whether or not you agree with each topic," or are uncertain on issues like property taxes, capitalism, unions and X-rated movies. Most of the twins had a mixture of conservative and progressive views. But over all, they leaned slightly one way or the other.

The article goes on to say:

It is not that opinions on specific issues are written into a person's DNA. Rather, genes prime people to respond cautiously or openly to the mores of a social group.

So it's not that your genes make you believe that Rush is Right. They just predispose you to believe that. Everything else is up to you.

I'm still not inclined to buy this one.

For reasons of personal experience here.

1 comment:

Cynthia (Also Cynthia) said...

I'm with you, delagar. From what the Times article said, the researchers just compared twins, identical vs. fraternal. Isn't there a mountain of research showing that men think differently than women. Did the researchers of this new study compare male identical twins vs female identical twins? Did they compare male identical twins vs. male fraternal twins to see if there was a difference there? And how about female identical twins vs. female fraternal twins? Were the fraternal twins allowed in the study all one gender or the other, or were mixed gender fraternal twins included? And what were the questions used? So many questions, so little information in the article.