474 biology & politics other 2013 upPresentation Transcript
Mark PeffleyPS 474G, Political PsychologyBIOLOGY & POLITICS
An exercise based on: NYT, ‚The ‘Love Hormone’ as Sports Enhancer‛ Oxytocin is, famously, the “love hormone,” a brain peptide known to make people like one another, especially in intimate relationships. New mothers are awash in oxytocin, and it is believed that the hormone promotes bonding between mother and infant. New-formed romantic couples also have augmented bloodstream levels of the peptide, many studies show. The original attraction between the lovers seems to prompt the release of oxytocin, and, in turn, its actions in the brain intensify and solidify the allure. Oxytocin also plays a role in competitive sports—shootouts in soccer!
I. Preliminary questions about studying thebiological basis of political behavior.Pros and Cons
23AndMe Will Decode Your DNA for $1,000(2010), now only $99 (2013)!Welcome to the Age of Genomics!!Welcome to the Age of Genomics
DNA Testing Dog Poop: Apartments GetSerious About Tracking Down Owners NotCleaning Up After Pets LEBANON, N.H. (AP) — Heres the scoop: Some apartment complexes are using DNA testing on dog doo to find out whos not cleaning up after their pets. The Timberwood Commons in Lebanon, N.H., opened this year and already has had problems with some residents who arent cleaning up messes their dogs leave. So manager Debbie Violette is going to use commercially available DNA sampling kits to check the DNA that dogs leave behind when they go.
Crime and DNA testing: one example of application Currently all 50 states and the federal government have laws requiring that DNA samples be collected from some categories of offenders. DNA can be used to identify criminals with incredible accuracy when biological evidence exists. DNA can be used to clear suspects and exonerate persons mistakenly accused or convicted of crimes. Oct 4, 2012: 300 exonerations of death row inmates Damon Thibodeaux, released after 15 years on death row.
A. Why have politicalscientists been so slow tolatch onto the advances inbiology & social sciences?--Practical, moral &historical issues
Why political scientists are resistant tostudying biology and political behavior? Few political scientists have biological training. Smacks of “eugenics” to some. Many social scientists were trained in an earlier era of environmental determinism in the “nature vs. nurture” debate.
Man Is by Nature a Political Animal:Evolution, Biology, and PoliticsRose McDermott, Peter K. Hatemi “A primer of what has been happening at the intersection of political science, biology, and cognitive neuroscience for the past twenty years.” --John M. Orbell, University of Oregon, (ostracized by his poli sci dept. 10 years ago)
B. Why should politicalscientists care aboutbiology? Scientific,philosophical insights.
Why need to study it? Helps explain both universal political behavior (e.g., evolutionary psych) and differences across individuals (e.g., genetics) Political theorists, political institutions and assumptions of human nature. Ideology and the nature vs nurture debate Other issues DNA exoneration of death row inmates Privacy issues
Interesting twist on how liberals and conservatives use genetic explanations to account for differences in Class, Race, and Sexual Orientation Race ClassSexual Orientation Compared to Conservatives, Liberals invoke genetics to explain sexual orientation but not class or racial differences.
Emerging areas of research Genetics (e.g., Alford, et al., Hatemi, NYT articles) The brain (neuroscience) (e.g., Iacoboni, et al) Evolutionary psychology (e.g., Pinker)
Genetics, Twin StudiesAlford, Funk and Hibbing, “Are PoliticalOrientations Genetically Transmitted?”
Why focus on genetics?
Twin research as a ‚naturalexperiment‛ Trait variation across individuals = Heredity + Environment (shared & unshared) =%H+%E E = Shared Environ. + Unshared Environ. If twins raised apart, controls for environment.
MZ twins share 100% geneticmaterial, DZ share 50%
Identical or fraternal?
Identical or fraternal?
C. Findings Data: Australian and U.S. Twin studies that have genetic and survey data on 30,000 twins. What are the findings of Alford et al about the degree to which heredity versus the environment explains individual variation in political and social attitudes? Which attitudes have a high heredity component and which do not?
Estimates of Twin Correlations & Genetic & EnvironmentalInfluences on Political Attitudes, 2005Wilson-Pattersons Conservatism Scale Items: Higher coefficients suggests a greater role for genetic sources of political attitudes.
Refined estimates, 2010, adding regular siblings and parents in the analysis•Hot button social issues are strongly heritable (school prayer, X-rated movies, gayrights, immigration)•Unique environmental effects are smaller than heritability effects, but larger thanshared environment•There are also differences across males and females in heritability, etc.
D. Implications for politics Challenges assumptions of environmental determinism and the central role of the family in the formation of political attitudes Implications for: Human nature, rational choice and environmental determinism The (political) properties of heritable attitudes (Tesser): some behaviors easier to learn, harder to unlearn Absolutist & Contextualist political ideologies
E. Problems & Questions with 2005 study--beginning to be addressed in subsequent research Evan Charney (2008), AFH is just too contrary to prior knowledge to accept. “If [their study is] true, it would require nothing less than a revision of our understanding of all of human history, much, if not most of political science, sociology, anthropology, and psychology, as well as, perhaps, our understanding of what it means to be human.” Response: If this is grounds for rejecting new knowledge, then we’d still believe the world is flat and the sun revolves around the earth.
E. Problems & Questions with 2005 study--beginning to be addressed in subsequent research Heritability coefficients may be inflated if twins “reared apart” are in similar homes, see each other, etc. Response: Even after correcting for this, heritability coefficients are still surprisingly robust and are never 0.
Do Twins have similar experiences?Answer: Yes.
Does taking these similar experiences into account change the findings on heritability? Answer: No. MZ twins are similar regardless of how much contact the twins have/had.MZ correlations for the most part simply do not change much regardless of more or lesscontact as child or adult. DZ similarities are affected, however.
E. Problems & Questions with 2005 study--beginning to be addressed in subsequentresearch Heritability coefficients of twin studies are a black box that lead us to more questions: by what process and what causes what? What is the process by which particular genes (alleles) interact with the environment and predispose particular political attitudes and behaviors? To answer these and other questions, political scientists are teaming up with geneticists
Another problem:Alford et al give us a ‚black box‛
Political scientists working to fill in the black boxJames H. Fowler and Christopher T. Dawes. 2008. "Two GenesPredict Voter Turnout." The Journal of Politics 70(03):579-94. •Studies of twins show that voter turnout has very high heritability. Why? •MAOA and 5HTT genes are prime candidates for explaining heritability of turnout because they exert a strong influence on the serotonin system in parts of the brain that regulate fear, trust, and social interaction. •Individuals with a polymorphism of the MAOA gene are significantly more likely to have voted in the 2004 presidential election. •The association between 5HTT and turnout is moderated by exposure to religious social activity. •Caveat: We know more about the black box, but still have many more questions than answers.
Peter Hatemi, et al. 2010. Journal of Politics. “A Genome-WideAnalysis of Liberal and Conservative Political Attitudes.” Measuring liberalism-conservatism with 50 questions.
Peter Hatemi, et al. 2010. Journal of Politics. “A Genome-WideAnalysis of Liberal and Conservative Political Attitudes.”•Search for chromosomes & genes associated with bigliberal-conservative differences in the sample.
Peter Hatemi, et al. 2010. Journal of Politics. “A Genome-WideAnalysis of Liberal and Conservative Political Attitudes.” Caveats The process is incredibly complex: The pathway from DNA to social behavior is certain to be convoluted, involving networks of genes, multiple intervening neurobiological processes, development, and a multitude of environmental contingencies. No single gene contributes more than a small portion of explaining complex behaviors. We’re just beginning to study the connections between genes and social behaviors. Stay tuned!
“Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits,”Science 321, 1667 (2008)Douglas R. Oxley,1* Kevin B. Smith,1* John R. Alford,2Matthew V. Hibbing,3 Jennifer L. Miller,1Mario Scalora,4 Peter K. Hatemi,5 John R. Hibbing1†Two clear indicators of scientific success:1. NSF video, here.2. “Daily Show” segment here.
Physical response to perceived threat Is physical sensitivity to threat associated with political beliefs? Two types of physical responses to threat we know a lot about Changes in skin conductance Blink amplitude
Measure of ‚support for (18) sociallyprotective political policies‛ (May 2007) Similar to “conservatism scale” in twins studies, but more relevant to mid-2007, issues associated with protection of the individual’s group—the U.S., from threat. (May 2007. N = 46 Lincoln, Nebraska residents). Military spending, warrantless searches, the death penalty, the Patriot Act, obedience, patriotism, the Iraq War, school prayer, and Biblical truth; and opposition to pacifism, immigration, gun control, foreign aid, compromise, premarital sex, gay marriage, abortion rights, and pornography.
2 months later, participants wereattached to physiological equipment, tomeasure:1. Skin conductance, linked to emotion,arousal, and attention2. EMG (blinking) response: aninvoluntary response to a startling noise(white noise through headphones),indicative of a heightened‚fear state‛
Changes in skin conductancein response to: Three separate threatening images interspersed among a sequence of 33 images Very large spider on the face of a frightened person A dazed individual with a bloody face An open wound with maggots in it Three nonthreatening images A bunny A bowl of fruit A happy child
Changes in skin conductance after showingthreatening images among low & highsupporters of protective policies (i.e.,social ‚liberals‛ & ‚conservatives‛)
Blink amplitude in response to 7 startlingnoises among ‚liberals‛ & ‚conservatives‛
Explanations/Speculations: why are fearresponses & political attitudes related? “Our data reveal a correlation between physiological responses to threat and political attitudes but do not permit firm conclusions concerning the specific causal processes at work.” Socialization? Perhaps, parents could both socialize their children to hold certain political attitudes and condition them to respond in a certain way to threatening stimuli? But conditioning involuntary reflex responses takes immediate and sustained reinforcement and punishment, and it is unlikely that this conditioning varies systematically across political beliefs? Biological source: Political attitudes and varying physiological responses to threat may both derive from neural activity patterns (e.g., Amygdala activity-> (fear brain)). Our lizard brains? Source of strong political convictions and difficulty of changing them.
The Brain: Social NeuroscienceSocial Neuroscience: uses the methods ofneuroscience to understand how the brain processessocial information
Could fMRI’s replace surveys? Brain activity, as measured by an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) versus observing behavior and verbal self- reports.
fMRI: brain imaging allows researchersto watch the working mind in action, sortof
Measuring blood flowTwo brain imaging techniques, PET and fMRI, measure blood flow through thebrain. Active areas of the brain use more energy and so need a greater supply ofoxygen and glucose. More blood is directed to these areas to meet the demandsof the active neurones. PET tracks blood flow by using labeled chemicals, whilefMRI monitors the oxygen content of the blood.
Neural Bases of Motivated Reasoning: An fMRIStudy of Emotional Constraints on PartisanPolitical Judgment in the 2004 U.S.Presidential ElectionDrew Westen, Pavel S. Blagov, Keith Harenski, ClintKilts, and Stephan HamannMotivated reasoning is a form of implicit emotionregulation in which the brain converges onjudgments that minimize negative and maximizepositive affect states associated with threat to orattainment of motives.
Study We used functional neuroimaging to study the neural responses of 30 committed partisans during the U.S. Presidential election of 2004. We presented subjects with reasoning tasks involving judgments about information threatening to their own candidate, the opposing candidate, or neutral control targets. i.e., what parts of the brain light up when our candidate looks like a hypocrite?
Design of Experiment
Findings: Ratings Powerful effects of motivated reasoning: Mirror-image responses: Democrats readily identified the contradictions in Bush’s statements but not Kerry’s, whereas Republicans readily identified the contradictions in Kerry’s statements but not Bush’s.
Findings: The Brain Scans (the ‚Wow‛ Factor: fMRI) Neuro-Science Version: Motivated reasoning was associated with activations of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, insular cortex, and lateral orbital cortex. English version: As predicted, motivated reasoning (responding to our candidate as a hypocrite) was not associated with neural activity in regions previously linked to “cold” reasoning tasks and conscious (explicit) emotion regulation. It was linked to regions associated with integrating emotion and cognition (i.e., “hot” cognitions), as we expected.
Opinion: “This Is Your Brain on Politics‛November 11, 2007By Marco Iacoboni, Joshua Freedman and Jonas Kaplan of theUniversity of California, Los Angeles, Semel Institute forNeuroscience; Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public PolicyCenter at the University of Pennsylvania; and Tom Freedman, BillKnapp and Kathryn Fitzgerald of FKF Applied Research.
Method IN anticipation of the 2008 presidential election, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to watch the brains of a group of swing voters as they responded to the leading presidential candidates. Our results reveal some voter impressions on which this election may well turn. We observed their brain activity for nearly an hour in the scanner at the Ahmanson Lovelace Brain Mapping Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Afterward, each subject filled out a second questionnaire.
Men’s brains* were activated when they looked at the words “Democrat”and “Republican,” but not “independent.”* The images do not represent individual brains, but rather reflect thecombined data gathered from several - in some cases all - subjects
Photos of Hillary Clinton elicited increased activity in theanterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain that processesconflicting impulses, in swing voters who reported having an
Men and women reacted differently to still pictures of HillaryClinton. Men (left) showed little engagement, while womenresponded strongly
In response to images of Democratic candidates, men exhibitedactivity in the medial orbital prefrontal cortex, indicatingemotional connection and positive feelings.
Looking at photos of Mitt Romney led to activity in theamygdala, a brain area linked to anxiety.
When first shown photos of Barack Obamaand John McCain, swing voters’ brains hadlittle activity in areas of the brain associatedwith thought or feeling.
Problems with politicalneuroscience Many different parts of the brain are used in any brain function. We don’t know exactly what the results mean yet. It’s expensive! $600/hour/subject.
IV. Evolutionary Psychology“The Moral Instinct “By STEVEN PINKER,Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University“The Colbert Report” here My Genome, My Self
Evolutionary psychology defined …studies how natural selection predisposes not just physical traits suited to particular contexts, but psychological traits and social (political) behaviors that enhance the preservation of one’s genes.
Evolutionary psychology is: Neither a blank slate view nor a genetic determinist view of the mind Rather, the mind is more of a coloring book, Some of the basic foundations of the human mind are predetermined, just as the lines of a coloring book are already written in. But the richness of human experience, learning and culture is needed to color in the lines to make an actual human being.
B. Methods Used Documenting universal behaviors in: Cross-cultural studies Animal studies Hormonal and genetic studies Brain imaging Functional analysis (E.g., men are attracted to females with certain body types so that behavior must have been selected to further the survival of our forebearers)
1. Research on sexualdifferences (in mate attraction) Gender differences in behavior: more socially sensitive, less physically aggressive, more socially connected and nurturing positively evaluated Gender differences in mate attraction (Buss): Men are attracted to female features associated with fertility (body types, younger), while women prefer older men with more status and power.
3. Problems Hindsight explanation Long leash of biology Reinforces gender stereotypes
Steven PinkerEven after acknowledging problems withevolutionary psychology, sometimes the ideasare so interesting, they must be considered
The Better Angels of OurNature He offers gruesomely delightful details about cutting off noses and torturing heretics. Our evolved brains, he argues, are capable of a wide range of responses to their environment. Under the right conditions, they can allow us to live in greater and greater peace. Tribal warfare was nine times as deadly as war and genocide in the 20th century. The murder rate of Medieval Europe was more than thirty times what it is today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were unexceptionable features of life for millennia, then suddenly were targeted for abolition. Wars between developed countries have vanished, and even in the developing world, wars kill a fraction of the people they did a few decades ago. Rape, battering, hate crimes, deadly riots, child abuse, cruelty to animals—all substantially down.
The Moral Instinct Moralization is a psychological state that can be turned on and off like a switch, and when it is on, a distinctive mind-set commandeers our thinking. The first hallmark of moralization is that the rules it invokes are felt to be universal. Prohibitions of rape and murder, for example, are felt not to be matters of local custom but to be universally and objectively warranted. The other hallmark is that people feel that those who commit immoral acts deserve to be punished. Not only is it allowable to inflict pain on a person who has broken a moral rule; it is wrong not to, to “let them get away with it.” “The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell.” Smoking has lately been moralized. Many behaviors have been amoralized Double standards: Driving a gas-guzzling Hummer is reprehensible, but driving a gas-guzzling old Volvo is not; eating a Big Mac is unconscionable, but not imported cheese or crème brûlée. The reason for these double standards is obvious: people tend to align their moralization with their own lifestyles.
Which moral situations repulseyou and why?
Situation # 1: Julie & Mark1. Julie is traveling in France on summer vacation from college with her brother Mark. One night they decide that it would be interesting and fun if they tried making love. They are very diligent about using contraception. They both enjoy the sex but decide not to do it again. They keep the night as a special secret, which makes them feel closer to each other. What do you think about that — was it O.K. for them to make love?
Situation #2: Flag2. A woman is cleaning out her closet and she finds her old American flag. She doesn’t want the flag anymore, so she cuts it up into pieces and uses the rags to clean her bathroom.
Situation # 3: Dog3. A family’s dog is killed by a car in front of their house. They heard that dog meat was delicious, so they cut up the dog’s body to cook it and eat it for dinner.
Julie & Mark Most people who hear the Julie & Mark story immediately say that it was wrong for the siblings to make love, and they then begin searching for reasons (Haidt, Bjorklund, & Murphy, 2000). They point out the dangers of inbreeding, only to remember that Julie and Mark used two forms of birth control. They argue that Julie and Mark will be hurt, perhaps emotionally, even though the story makes it clear that no harm befell them. Eventually, many people say something like, "I dont know, I cant explain it, I just know its wrong." But what model of moral judgment allows a person to know that something is wrong without knowing why?
Moral reasoning (S2) followsmoral intuitions (S1) The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail The Post Hoc Problem: The Reasoning Process Readily Constructs Justifications of Intuitive Judgments, Causing the Illusion of Objective Reasoning
Jonathan Haidt, moralrationalization Eventually many people admit, “I don’t know, I can’t explain it, I just know it’s wrong.” People don’t generally engage in moral reasoning, Haidt argues, but moral rationalization: they begin with the conclusion, coughed up by an unconscious emotion, and then work backward to a plausible justification.
The Trolley ProblemPhilippa Foot and Judith Jarvis Thomson On your morning walk, you see a trolley car hurtling down the track, the conductor slumped over the controls. In the path of the trolley are five men working on the track, oblivious to the danger. You are standing at a fork in the track and can pull a lever that will divert the trolley onto a spur, saving the five men. Unfortunately, the trolley would then run over a single worker who is laboring on the spur. Is it permissible to throw the switch, killing one man to save five? Almost everyone says “yes.” Now consider now a different scene. You are on a bridge overlooking the tracks and have spotted the runaway trolley bearing down on the five workers. Now the only way to stop the trolley is to throw a heavy object in its path. And the only heavy object within reach is a fat man standing next to you. Should you throw the man off the bridge?
A Universal Morality? Which values aremost important to you? What dividesliberals and conservatives? People everywhere, at least in some circumstances and with certain other folks in mind, value these things: 1. think it’s bad to harm others and good to help them. 2. They have a sense of fairness: that one should reciprocate favors, reward benefactors and punish cheaters. 3. They value loyalty to a group, sharing and solidarity among its members and conformity to its norms. 4. They believe that it is right to defer to legitimate authorities and to respect people with high status. 5. And they exalt purity, cleanliness and sanctity while loathing defilement, contamination and carnality.
Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why GoodPeople Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Both liberals and conservatives are self-righteous about their values being ignored by the immoral opposition. Conservatives value 3-5, Liberals 1-2. Morality binds people together into teams that seek victory, not truth. It closes hearts and minds to opponents even as it makes cooperation and decency possible within groups.
WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN? Conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer "moral clarity"—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.
Consider how much money someone would have topay us to do hypothetical acts like: Stick a pin into your palm. Stick a pin into the palm of a child you don’t know. (Harm.) Accept a wide-screen TV from a friend who received it at no charge because of a computer error. Accept a wide-screen TV from a friend who received it from a thief who had stolen it from a wealthy family. (Fairness.) Say something bad about your nation (which you don’t believe) on a talk-radio show in your nation. Say something bad about your nation (which you don’t believe) on a talk-radio show in a foreign nation. (Community.) Slap a friend in the face, with his permission, as part of a comedy skit. Slap your minister in the face, with his permission, as part of a comedy skit. (Authority.) Attend a performance-art piece in which the actors act like idiots for 30 minutes, including flubbing simple problems and falling down on stage. Attend a performance-art piece in which the actors act like animals for 30 minutes, including crawling around naked and urinating on stage. (Purity.)