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How Our Genes Influence Our Politics

All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats - Groucho Marx

Why this difference? Is it caused by our Environment or by Genetics?

We are all familiar with the fact that our environment plays a great part in shaping our political beliefs. Our environment includes parental influence, family, peers, schools, media and life experiences.

Recent research finds that, to a surprisingly large degree, our genes also shape our political beliefs and orientation. Using data collected from a large sample of fraternal and identical twins, research found that genes likely explain as much as half of why people are liberal or conservative. Genes influence or predispose many of our political viewpoints, they do not necessarily predict or predetermine them. We will examine some neurological, physiological, and psychological factors, all of which have a genetic background which may affect our political viewpoint. We end with the more recent studies about the specific genes which affect these traits.

This is a talk that was given at La Costa Glen on February 20, 2016.