Do You Lean to the Political Left? It May Be Genetic

U.S. research suggests a specific genetic variant might influence function receptors of dopamine, related to ability to experience pleasure and pain.

American researchers have discovered a possible link between liberal political views and genetic disposition.

Rabin 15 - Moti Kimche - Oct. 30, 2010
Moti Kimche

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University, identified a variant of the gene DRD4, which, they claim, might lead one to adopt liberal political views.

The gene influences the function receptors of dopamine, a neurotransmitter affecting emotional response, and ability to experience pleasure and pain.

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.

The research was published in the latest edition of The Journal of Politics published by Cambridge University Press, and focused on 2,574 subjects who participated in a longitudinal study of adolescent health in the United States.

The researchers matched the subjects' genetic information with their social networks, and found that subjects with a specific variant of DRD4 displayed a strong tendency to become liberal as they matured. According to researchers, subjects with this specific genetic variant who had engaged in active social lives as adolescents tend to develop liberal views as adults.

"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 British daily The Guardian quoted the researchers as saying last week.