Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences (Hardcover)
Buried in many people and operating largely outside the realm of conscious thought are forces inclining us toward liberal or conservative political convictions. Our biology predisposes us to see and understand the world in different ways, not always reason and the careful consideration of facts. These predispositions are in turn responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that marks human history.
With verve and wit, renowned social scientists John Hibbing, Kevin Smith, and John Alford pioneers in the field of biopolitics present overwhelming evidence that people differ politically not just because they grew up in different cultures or were presented with different information. Despite the oft-heard longing for consensus, unity, and peace, the universal rift between conservatives and liberals endures because people have diverse psychological, physiological, and genetic traits. These biological differences influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientations to politics.
Political disputes typically spring from the assumption that those who do not agree with us are shallow, misguided, uninformed, and ignorant. "Predisposed" suggests instead that political opponents simply experience, process, and respond to the world differently. It follows, then, that the key to getting along politically is not the ability of one side to persuade the other side to see the error of its ways but rather the ability of each side to see that the other is different, not just politically, but "physically." "Predisposed" will change the way you think about politics and partisan conflict.
As a bonus, the book includes a "Left/Right 20 Questions" game to test whether your predispositions lean liberal or conservative.
About the Author
John R. Hibbing is the Foundation Regents University Professor of political science and psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has been named a Guggenheim Fellow, a NATO Fellow in Science, a Senior Fulbright Fellow, and a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Kevin B. Smith is a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is an award-winning teacher and author of nine previous books, including The Ideology of Education: The Market, The Commonwealth, and America s Schools and Analyzing American Democracy. John R. Alford is an associate professor of political science at Rice University. He has published in areas as diverse as coal mine safety, pro-natalist policies in Eastern Europe, and congressional elections. He has also been active as a consultant and expert witness in the area of redistricting and election law. Together they are leaders in a growing group of political scientists and psychologists who are utilizing biological techniques to better understand the reasons people s political views are so diverse and often held so intensely. In 2007 they established the Political Physiology Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the first such lab dedicated exclusively to the analysis of politics. Their articles connecting biology and politics have appeared in scholarly outlets such as Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the American Political Science Review, and Science, and their research has attracted the attention of media outlets ranging from NPR to Fox News, from Spain s Tiempo magazine to Japan s Asahi Shimbun, and from the New York Times to The Daily Show."