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Voting Your Genes

Where you fall on the political spectrum may be in part influenced by your genetic makeup, even though many people generally attribute a person's views to his or her upbringing and environment, writes Scientific American Mind.

A 2014 study appearing in Behavior Genetics that examined political beliefs among identical and fraternal twins raised together found that both environment and genes influence political beliefs, at about a 60-40 split for environment and genes, respectively.

More specifically, Sciam Mind notes that a 2015 study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B linked variants in dopamine receptor genes with a person's penchant for being liberal or conservative. Sixty-two percent of highly liberal women, the researchers reported, had a receptor genotype that has also been linked to extroversion and novelty seeking. This variant was only found among about 38 percent of highly conservative women.

"Perhaps high-novelty seekers are more willing to entertain the idea of change, including in the political sphere," lead author Richard Ebstein from the National University of Singapore says. He adds, though, that many other genes could be involved.

Sciam Mind also points out that these findings correspond with psychological studies that have traced political beliefs to personality traits. Further studies have suggested that political beliefs might also be linked to a primal instinct to avoid danger.

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