Researchers Find a ‘Liberal Gene’

Chemical structures of representative D4-preferring ligands.

Chemical structures of representative D4-preferring ligands.

From ScienceDaily:

Appearing in the latest edition of The Journal of Politics published by Cambridge University Press, the research focused on 2,000 subjects from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. By matching genetic information with maps of the subjects’ social networks, the researchers were able to show that people with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults, but only if they had an active social life in adolescence.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter affecting brain processes that control movement, emotional response, and ability to experience pleasure and pain. Previous research has identified a connection between a variant of this gene and novelty-seeking behavior, and this behavior has previously been associated with personality traits related to political liberalism.

Lead researcher James H. Fowler of UC San Diego and his colleagues hypothesized that people with the novelty-seeking gene variant would be more interested in learning about their friends’ points of view. As a consequence, people with this genetic predisposition who have a greater-than-average number of friends would be exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which might make them more liberal than average. They reported that “it is the crucial interaction of two factors — the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence — that is associated with being more liberal.” The research team also showed that this held true independent of ethnicity, culture, sex or age.

I guess that means it’s not all a Marxist Plot.  It also implies that conservatives have fewer friends in high school, but I’m not sure what would be the cause and what would be the effect in that case.

Read more here.

, ,

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Must be recessive trait. Of my parents and the six of us kids, only two of us refused to drink the Tea Party koolaid.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      Does this gene have a link to whatever decides whether a person like soy/chai lattes?

      j/k I still think its empathy related. Either you have the capacity to consider well being beyond the immediate and personal…or you don’t. Conservatism resonates well with people who live on a “me first” basis…liberalism is for people who can perceive a benefit for themselves in the well being of others.

      • http://shalilayo.net/ Justin Mitchell

        Very astute observation. Too bad it is not contagious…thoughts like that might interfere with digging ourselves into the abyss.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Good points. Agreed.

      • Hal Brodmann

        Liberalism is the act of being completely accepting of all things new and untraditional, while at the same time considering all things traditional and historically accepted to be completely unacceptable, and not tollerating these ideas or those that adhere to them. Also, those that hold to traditional values are considered intollerant, and therefore they nor thier values can be tollerated or accepted by the liberals that consider themselves tollerant.

        • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

          Evidently what you know about liberalism, classical or otherwise, was filtered through the buzzword purveyors. A willingness to weigh more than the old and familiar does not necessarily rule out that a traditional idea might work better…it might…but if its already in use and failing…then clinging blindly to it, the hallmark of pop conservatism, is never the answer.

          There are a great many elements of classical conservatism that I’m very comfortable with…but almost none of them are relevant today…having been plowed under and driven out by the surge of neo-conservatism and reactionary frenzy.

          Modern conservatism…as it is practiced today, is the refuge of the weak of mind, the weak of spirit and the absent of character. The virtues inherent in a prudent and cautious approach to fiscal, moral and social policy are entirely gone…replaced by theocratic rantings, hypocritical rambling and poorly studied arguments that are peicemealed together as needed to meet the party line. In short…despite the buzzword being in circulation regularly…no actual firm principles…just mood swings that resemble an emo teen on Prozac.

          An example of principle…and having them is burdensome…would be the ACLU. A group that defends liberal and conservative alike, even to the point of representing KKK spin offs and providing free legal counsel for supremacy groups…despite having the opposite political views. They hold the freedom of speech and of expression, as well as other guarantees from the Bill Of Rights, so dear that they will protect those rights for all…without exception. This is the difference between a true liberal and a modern conservative. No such difficult grey areas exist…and no such tolerance would be shown if the show were on the other foot.

          Thats the kind of liberal I am. Tolerant enough to stand up for the rights of the people who hunger to strip those rights from others. Is it contradictory…sure…but thats the way principles work sometimes…and it’s a price I’m willing to pay to stand up for something better than emotional whims and flights of fancy.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Must be recessive trait. Of my parents and the six of us kids, only two of us refused to drink the Tea Party koolaid.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Must be recessive trait. Of my parents and the six of us kids, only two of us refused to drink the Tea Party koolaid.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Does this gene have a link to whatever decides whether a person like soy/chai lattes?

    j/k I still think its empathy related. Either you have the capacity to consider well being beyond the immediate and personal…or you don’t. Conservatism resonates well with people who live on a “me first” basis…liberalism is for people who can perceive a benefit for themselves in the well being of others.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Does this gene have a link to whatever decides whether a person like soy/chai lattes?

    j/k I still think its empathy related. Either you have the capacity to consider well being beyond the immediate and personal…or you don’t. Conservatism resonates well with people who live on a “me first” basis…liberalism is for people who can perceive a benefit for themselves in the well being of others.

  • Mitchej0

    Very astute observation. Too bad it is not contagious…thoughts like that might interfere with digging ourselves into the abyss.

  • Mitchej0

    Very astute observation. Too bad it is not contagious…thoughts like that might interfere with digging ourselves into the abyss.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Good points. Agreed.

  • Tosmartass

    LOL what a bunch of crap LOL LOL I have a bridge to sell

  • Tosmartass

    LOL what a bunch of crap LOL LOL I have a bridge to sell

  • Hal Brodmann

    Liberalism is the act of being completely accepting of all things new and untraditional, while at the same time considering all things traditional and historically accepted to be completely unacceptable, and not tollerating these ideas or those that adhere to them. Also, those that hold to traditional values are considered intollerant, and therefore they nor thier values can be tollerated or accepted by the liberals that consider themselves tollerant.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Evidently what you know about liberalism, classical or otherwise, was filtered through the buzzword purveyors. A willingness to weigh more than the old and familiar does not necessarily rule out that a traditional idea might work better…it might…but if its already in use and failing…then clinging blindly to it, the hallmark of pop conservatism, is never the answer.

    There are a great many elements of classical conservatism that I’m very comfortable with…but almost none of them are relevant today…having been plowed under and driven out by the surge of neo-conservatism and reactionary frenzy.

    Modern conservatism…as it is practiced today, is the refuge of the weak of mind, the weak of spirit and the absent of character. The virtues inherent in a prudent and cautious approach to fiscal, moral and social policy are entirely gone…replaced by theocratic rantings, hypocritical rambling and poorly studied arguments that are peicemealed together as needed to meet the party line. In short…despite the buzzword being in circulation regularly…no actual firm principles…just mood swings that resemble an emo teen on Prozac.

    An example of principle…and having them is burdensome…would be the ACLU. A group that defends liberal and conservative alike, even to the point of representing KKK spin offs and providing free legal counsel for supremacy groups…despite having the opposite political views. They hold the freedom of speech and of expression, as well as other guarantees from the Bill Of Rights, so dear that they will protect those rights for all…without exception. This is the difference between a true liberal and a modern conservative. No such difficult grey areas exist…and no such tolerance would be shown if the show were on the other foot.

    Thats the kind of liberal I am. Tolerant enough to stand up for the rights of the people who hunger to strip those rights from others. Is it contradictory…sure…but thats the way principles work sometimes…and it’s a price I’m willing to pay to stand up for something better than emotional whims and flights of fancy.

21