Are you an open-minded, free-thinking liberal, curious about the people around you? Were you popular in high school? Did you know about all the coolest parties? Do you still have a great head of hair? Well then, chances are, somewhere in your genetic code, one might find DRD4, the so-called "liberal gene." Based on studies of 2,000 subjects, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, say that ideology is as much a function of genetics as it is socialization. DRD4 is a variant of a novelty-seeking gene that has previously been linked with liberalism. But DRD4 only pushes you to the left of center if you had an active adolescent social life. "It is the crucial interaction of two factors — the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence — that is associated with being more liberal," says the report on the findings from the Journal of Politics. The gene makes teens more interested in hearing their friends' perspectives, and those with more friends are "exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which might make them more liberal than average." No word yet on a gene that predisposes people to conservatism, but we imagine it has something to do with getting your dopamine fix from the thwarting of pleasure. Don't try to tell us abstinence advocates don't get off on that, at least a little.
Researchers Find a 'Liberal Gene'' [ScienceDaily]
Being a liberal and hating Sarah Palin may be genetic trait [NYDN]