Biology, Politics, and the Emerging Science of Human Nature

  title={Biology, Politics, and the Emerging Science of Human Nature},
  author={James H. Fowler and Darren Schreiber},
  pages={912 - 914}
In the past 50 years, biologists have learned a tremendous amount about human brain function and its genetic basis. At the same time, political scientists have been intensively studying the effect of the social and institutional environment on mass political attitudes and behaviors. However, these separate fields of inquiry are subject to inherent limitations that may only be resolved through collaboration across disciplines. We describe recent advances and argue that biologists and political… 

Controversies in biology: implications for the study of biology and politics

There are new developments within biology and these have implications for political science generally and the study of biology and politics more narrowly. This paper will look at four case studies:

Genetic and Environmental Approaches to Political Science

This essay reviews the general approaches to modeling genetic and social influences on differences in complex human social traits, and focuses on the “genetics of politics,” including attitudes, ideologies, voting, and partisanship.

The genetics of politics.

A study that suggests the desire to vote or abstain from politics may be hardwired into the human brain and genetics is at least partially responsible for making a voter out of a citizen is reported on.

Adaptation, Heritability, and the Emergence of Evolutionary Political Science

A detailed outline of the theoretical framework of evolutionary psychology is provided, and its application toward the study of political behavior is explored—an endeavor the authors label Evolutionary Political Science.

Integrating Social Science and Genetics: News from the Political Front

The methods, findings, and limitations of behavior genetic approaches, including twin designs, association studies, and genome-wide analyses, in their application toward exploring political preferences are explicated.

The Intersection of Behavioral Genetics and Political Science: Introduction to the Special Issue

  • P. Hatemi
  • Psychology
    Twin Research and Human Genetics
  • 2012
This issue is the fruit of 20 political scientists attending the Behavioral Genetics Association Methods Workshop in Boulder and a hands-on training practicum at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, and includes results from the first wave of political science twin surveys.

Biology, ideology, and epistemology: how do we know political attitudes are inherited and why should we care?

This article uses a new data source to test empirically the alternative, exclusively environmental, explanations for ideological similarities between twins and suggests that the mainstream socialization paradigm for explaining attitudes and behaviors is not necessarily incorrect but is substantively incomplete.

Ten Misconceptions Concerning Neurobiology and Politics

Political science is far behind the other social science disciplines in incorporating neurobiological concepts, techniques, and theory. In recent years progress has been made in closing this gap but

Neuropolitics and Political Science: Providing a Foundation for the Study of Politics

Abstract Purpose – Acknowledging that the field of neuroscience is expanding rapidly and the implication of recent neuroscientific advances on the study of politics is equally vast, this chapter



The affect effect : dynamics of emotion in political thinking and behavior

Passion and emotion run deep in politics, but researchers have only recently begun to study how they influence our political thinking. Contending that the long-standing neglect of such feelings has

The end of the end of ideology.

  • J. Jost
  • Psychology
    The American psychologist
  • 2006
Studies reveal that there are indeed meaningful political and psychological differences that covary with ideological self-placement and are useful for understanding the political divide between "red states" and "blue states".

Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism

It is found that greater liberalism was associated with stronger conflict-related anterior cingulate activity, suggesting greater neurocognitive sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual response pattern.

Machiavellian intelligence : social expertise and the evolution of intellect in monkeys, apes, and humans

Editorial - the Machiavellian intelligence hypotheses. The origins of the idea what primates know about social relationships social complexity - the effect of a third party are primates mind-readers?

Genetic Variation in Political Participation

The decision to vote has puzzled scholars for decades. Theoretical models predict little or no variation in participation in large population elections and empirical models have typically accounted

Hierarchy in the Forest

Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian? "Hierarchy in the Forest" addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior. Christopher Boehm, an

Humans Have Evolved Specialized Skills of Social Cognition: The Cultural Intelligence Hypothesis

Supporting the cultural intelligence hypothesis and contradicting the hypothesis that humans simply have more “general intelligence,” it is found that the children and chimpanzees had very similar cognitive skills for dealing with the physical world but that theChildren had more sophisticated cognitive skills than either of the ape species for dealingWith the social world.

Is Political Cognition Like Riding a Bicycle? How Cognitive Neuroscience Can Inform Research on Political Thinking

Our understanding of political phenomena, including political attitudes and sophistication, can be enriched by incorporating the theories and tools of cognitive neuroscience—in particular, the

An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgment

It is argued that moral dilemmas vary systematically in the extent to which they engage emotional processing and that these variations in emotional engagement influence moral judgment.

The Genetics of Voting: An Australian Twin Study

Multivariate genetic analysis showed no unique genetic contribution to voting preference; rather, the genetic influence in vote choice could be explained by shared genetic influences in perceived social class, church attendance and certain key political attitude items.