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Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences, John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith and John A. Alford

Reviewed by Eric Oliver



Over the past 20 years, biology has grown ascendant in the social sciences. Spurred by advances in genomics, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology, a gaggle of scholars are exploring the biological underpinnings of human social and political behavior. Within political science, no one has done more to advance this research agenda than John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith, and John A. Alford. In scores of imaginative experiments, novel studies, and research articles, they have identified numerous biological correlates to political attitudes, particularly ideology. They have truly been at the forefront of introducing a biological perspective on human politics. Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences is their effort to translate this research for a popular audience.

And translate they do! Predisposed is that rarity among political science books—a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read. Hibbing, Smith, and Alford do a wonderful job of transforming a highly complex subject matter into an accessible and compelling narrative. They weave together fascinating vignettes with artful overviews of cutting-edge research on physiology, neuroscience, and genetics. With great wit and aplomb, they explain everything from how to interpret a correlation coefficient to the dispersal of genetic traits across a populati

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