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The "Unnatural" Preferences of Intelligent People

A new study may finally put to bed the age-old question: Are liberals smarter than conservatives? Well, it would appear so. The study, which will appear in the March 2010 issue Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt preferences and values that are considered "evolutionarily novel." The researchers say that our intelligent ancestors were able to find new and novel ways to work out problems for which there were no innate solutions. The theory argues that humans are designed by evolution to be conservative, and care mostly about their own families and friends, and that being liberal means caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, which is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals. However, one finding of the study is that more intelligent people are no more or no less likely to value such evolutionarily familiar entities as marriage, family, children, and friends.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.