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For the greater part of human history, political behaviors, values, preferences, and institutions have been viewed as socially determined. Discoveries during the 1970s that identified genetic influences on political orientations remained unaddressed. However, over the past decade, an unprecedented amount of scholarship utilizing genetic models to expand the understanding of political traits has emerged. Here, we review the ‘genetics of politics’, focusing on the topics that have received the most attention: attitudes, ideologies, and pro-social political traits, including voting behavior and participation. The emergence of this research has sparked a broad paradigm shift in the study of political behaviors toward the inclusion of biological influences and recognition of the mutual co-dependence between genes and environment in forming political behaviors.
Historically, the life sciences have overlooked this connection and ignored politics, focusing instead on improving human health. Diseases and psychopathologies are critically important and potentially devastating to those afflicted, yet affect only a fraction of the population. .... At the same time, the idea that genes could influence behavior was considered impossible by those in the social sciences. The increasingly impersonal social interactions typical of society were considered too recent a phenomenon and too context dependent to be shaped by evolutionary forces or influenced by biological differences.