A story today in the The Los Angeles Times on a study about biology and politics starts with: “Die-hard liberals and conservatives aren’t made; they’re born. It’s literally in their DNA.”
Intrigued, I called the study’s head researcher, Douglas Oxley of the University of Nebraska, to see if he agreed with this conclusion.
“In some ways [the study has] been misinterpreted,” said Oxley. He said that his study didn’t find a link between DNA and political leanings. “We could have things happen to us in the womb or later in life that could cause” physiological and ideological differences.
The study, released yesterday, tested the physiological responses of 46 participants to various threatening images, like bloody faces. It found that people who self-identified as “in favor of socially protective policies” responded much more strongly to the stimuli than people who held more liberal views on such issues as welfare, abortion, immigration, gay rights and school prayer.
The researchers concluded that people of different ideological persuasions have divergent physiological reactions, and that people with socially conservative views tend to be more shocked by potentially threatening stimuli.
“Some people have said that we’re calling conservatives ‘frightened’ or something along those lines,” Oxley said. “And we’re not. All we’re suggesting is that there’s a physiological difference between people who hold one set of political beliefs and people who hold another set of political beliefs.”
The study had its limitations — the sample size was small and all of the subjects were white Nebraskans — but it’s still a small step toward a greater understanding our ever-increasing ideological divide, even if the answer doesn’t lie in our genes.
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’
All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill
New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S
EPA: BP Has 24 Hours to Find a Less Toxic Chemical Dispersant
Thought the massive quantities of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico were the only major threat to the country’s southeast coastal waters right now? Think
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some