Suhay - Vanderbilt twin study lecture

Suhay - Vanderbilt twin study lecture - Why Twin Studies...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–6. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Why Twin Studies are Problematic for the Study of Political Ideology: Rethinking “ Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?” Elizabeth Suhay Nathan Kalmoe Christa McDermott The New York Times June 21, 2005 “Some Politics May Be Etched in the Genes” By Benedict Carey Political scientists have long held that people's upbringing and experience determine their political views. A child raised on peace protests and Bush-loathing generally tracks left as an adult, unless derailed by some powerful life experience. One reared on tax protests and a hatred of Kennedys usually lists to the right. But on the basis of a new study, a team of political scientists is arguing that people's gut-level reaction to issues like the death penalty, taxes and abortion is strongly influenced by genetic inheritance. The new research builds on a series of studies that indicate that people's general approach to social issues - more conservative or more progressive - is influenced by genes. “When people talk about the political debate becoming increasingly ugly, they often blame talk radio or the people doing the debating, but they've got it backward," Dr. Alford said. "These genetically predisposed ideologies are polarized, and that's what makes the debate so nasty. You see it in people's eyes when they talk politics. You can hear it their voices.” The researchers are not optimistic about the future of bipartisan cooperation or national unity. Because men and women tend to seek mates with a similar ideology, they say, the two gene pools are becoming, if anything, more concentrated, not less. Alford et al., and twin studies in general, misinform us regarding the influence of genetics Overview of Alford, Funk, Hibbing (2005) claims Overview of twin study methodology Suhay, Kalmoe, McDermott (2008) critiques Critique #1: The Equal Environments Assumption does not hold Critique #2: “Heritability” concept of limited utility Critique #3: Specific claims on culture war not supported by data Critique #4: Socialization happens! Suggested approach to study of genetic influence: constructivist interactionism Overview of Alford et al. claims “[G]enes influence people’s outlooks and personalities, and it is these broad features that then predispose individuals toward suites of specific attitudes” (164). Drawing on database of MZ/DZ twins, authors estimate about 50% of the variation in conservative-liberal ideology in the U.S. can be traced to genetic variation in population. Genes Predisposition Ideology Environment Overview of Alford et al. claims Absolutist suspicion of out-groups attraction to strong leadership black and white thinking retribution/revenge ….conservatism Contextualist tolerance toward out-groups support for equality context over rules greater empathy ….liberalism Two political phenotypes Is this the “authoritarian personality” (Adorno et al. 1950)?...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course HUM 161 taught by Professor Bader,gear during the Spring '08 term at Vanderbilt.

Page1 / 31

Suhay - Vanderbilt twin study lecture - Why Twin Studies...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 6. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online