Ideology in our Genes: The Biological Basis for Political Traits

Ideology in our Genes: The Biological Basis for Political Traits

Rose McDermott

July 19, 02016

While traditionally social factors have been considered to have primary influence on political behaviors and preferences, more recent research shows that there's also a strong heritable component to ideological attitudes. Rose McDermott, professor of International Relations at Brown University and a 02015-16 Stanford CASBS fellow, discussed her research on the influence of genetic contributions to political and social behavior.

McDermott studies the biological influences which interact with environmental factors to shape ideology across the political spectrum in cultures around the world. McDermott has described her work as intended to offer an interdisciplinary approach to the interaction of psychological processes and political outcomes. Her research has included conducting embedded experiments on attitudes toward gender equality in numerous countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Uganda, Indonesia, Mongolia and India. She is the author of Political Psychology in International Relations and co-editor of Man Is by Nature a Political Animal. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 02013.

Dr. Rose McDermott is the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor of International Relations at Brown University and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received her Ph.D.(Political Science) and M.A. (Experimental Social Psychology) from Stanford University and has taught at Cornell, UCSB and Harvard. She has held numerous fellowships, including the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the Women and Public Policy Program, all at Harvard University. She is a two-time fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.

Recent research shows that genetics as well as environment contribute to our political opinions. Social and political psychologist Rose McDermott of Brown Univiersity, a Stanford CASBS fellow, explains the biological foundations of ideology, how conservative and liberals react to each other's scent, and much more. From July 02016.

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