Political preference 'all in the genes'
Your genes will not automatically make you sign up for Fianna Fail or Labour or Fine Gael. Instead your genetic makeup will give you an orientation towards conservatism or being liberal.
Your choice of political party isn't about the policies, it is about your genes. Research suggests that we inherit ways of thinking that translate into political preferences.
Details of the research were released yesterday at the ongoing American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston. In a session called "The Science of Politics", Rose McDermott, professor of political science at Brown University argues that genetics can influence your political choices.
Your genes will not automatically make you sign up for Fianna Fail or Labour or Fine Gael. Instead your genetic makeup will give you an orientation towards conservatism or being liberal. This orientation will in turn make it more likely that you will prefer a party that shares these views.
Her work related to Democrats and Republicans in the US context but the effects arise through evolution rather than through political thinking.
This should mean that they work just as well at home, despite the complexities of the Irish party system.
Your distant relatives from generations ago might have been conservative about protecting their particular "in-group" and home, as opposed to striking out to follow a new path. Translating this into today's issues could mean you might also be conservative about reproductive rights, immigration or a willingness to go to war.
To test this she focused on twin studies using both identical and fraternal twins. She looked at differences between the twins to try and establish what preferences might come from one's environment as opposed to one's genes. Statistical analysis of the data allowed her to identify which attitudes are inherited and which are learned.
Prof McDermott now plans to take the research further, to map how genes affect psychological processes and biological mechanisms that link across to an individual's upbringing, social environment and personal experiences.
Our political parties might want to review the work next time they go searching for party support.