Friendships Moderate an Association between a Dopamine Gene Variant and Political Ideology (Study)

“Here, we hypothesize that individuals with a genetic predisposition toward seeking out new experiences will tend to be more liberal, but only if they are embedded in a social context that provides them with multiple points of view.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we test this hypothesis by investigating an association between self-reported political ideology and the 7R variant of the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4), which has previously been associated with novelty seeking. Among those with DRD4-7R, we find that the number of friendships a person has in adolescence is significantly associated with liberal political ideology. Among those without the gene variant, there is no association.

This is the first study to elaborate a specific gene-environment interaction that contributes to ideological self-identification, and it highlights the importance of incorporating both nature and nurture into the study of political preferences.”

The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72, No. 4, October 2010, Pp. 1189–1198 doi:10.1017/S0022381610000617
STUDY friends_drd4_and_political_ideology_2010 (PDF)

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