On Nurture, Nature, Votes, and Parties: Studying the Biological Underpinnings of Political Behavior

“What drives people, and what holds people, is the physical body . . . We’re not disembodied. We’re not sticks with brains,” said Rose McDermott, Watson faculty fellow and Brown professor of political science.

Rose McDermott and a small group of peers aim to determine the role that genes play in influencing behavior – in this case, political behaviors such as casting votes, choosing parties, leading countries, amassing weapons, waging war.  An offshoot of behavior genetics, the field is intensely interdisciplinary, mining the intersection of genetics and political science and marrying the knowledge, tools, and research methods of both disciplines.