June 6, 2018

When Liberals and Conservatives Use Genetics to Explain Human Difference



Public debate on genetic research often assumes that conservatives will prefer genetic explanations for human differences, while liberals will point to environmental factors—perhaps exacerbating political divides on race. But Stephen Schneider finds that conservatives prefer explanations based on personal choice; attributing individual differences to genetics is associated with liberalism and higher tolerance.

But when asked to explain racial group differences, Elizabeth Suhay finds that conservatives are attracted to genetic explanations if they are exposed to media messages on genetics and race. Both say people choose their political views first and then select the explanations that fit them.

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