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Are Your Political Beliefs Genetic?

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Published on Sep 19, 2018

The brain isn’t partisan, but when we move to political extremes, it can affect our physiology and psychology.

The Genes of Left and Right: Our political attitudes may be written in our DNA
https://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...
“The genes involved in such complex traits are difficult to pinpoint because they tend to be involved in a huge number of bodily and cognitive processes that each play a minuscule role in shaping our political attitudes. Yet a study published in 2015 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B managed to do just that, showing that genes encoding certain receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine are associated with where we fall on the liberal-conservative axis.”

Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/...
“We speculate that the association of gray matter volume of the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex with political attitudes that we observed may reflect emotional and cognitive traits of individuals that influence their inclination to certain political orientations. For example, our findings are consistent with the proposal that political orientation is associated with psychological processes for managing fear and uncertainty.”

The Myth of the Teen Brain
https://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...
“Considerable research shows that a persons emotions and behaviors continuously change brain anatomy and physiology. Stress creates hypersensitivity in dopamine-producing neurons that persists even after they are removed from the brain. Enriched environments produce more neuronal connections. For that matter, meditation, diet, exercise, studying and virtually all other activities alter the brain, and a new study shows that smoking produces brain changes similar to those produced in animals given heroin, cocaine or other addictive drugs. So if teens are in turmoil, we will necessarily find some corresponding chemical, electrical or anatomical properties in the brain. But did the brain cause the turmoil, or did the turmoil alter the brain?“
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