John Alford

John Alford
Rice University · Department of Political Science

Doctor of Philosophy

About

50
Publications
15,455
Reads
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3,995
Citations
Citations since 2016
3 Research Items
2062 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300
20162017201820192020202120220100200300
20162017201820192020202120220100200300
20162017201820192020202120220100200300
Additional affiliations
July 1985 - present
Rice University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 1981 - July 1985
University of Georgia
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Building on a growing body of research suggesting that political attitudes are part of broader individual and biological orientations, we test whether the detection of the hormone androstenone is predictive of political attitudes. The particular social chemical analyzed in this study is androstenone, a nonandrogenic steroid found in the sweat and s...
Article
Originally developed to explain cultural variation in moral judgments, moral foundations theory (MFT) has become widely adopted as a theory of political ideology. MFT posits that political attitudes are rooted in instinctual evaluations generated by innate psychological modules evolved to solve social dilemmas. If this is correct, moral foundations...
Article
Duarte et al. are correct that the social science enterprise would improve on several fronts if the number of politically conservative researchers were to increase; however, because they misunderstand the degree to which liberals and conservatives are dispositionally different, they fail to appreciate the full range of reasons that conservatives ar...
Article
Here we introduce the Genetic and Environmental Foundations of Political and Economic Behaviors: A Panel Study of Twins and Families (PIs Alford, Hatemi, Hibbing, Martin, and Smith). This study was designed to explore the genetic and environmental influences on social, economic, and political behaviors and attitudes. It involves identifying the psy...
Article
Full-text available
Political ideologies summarize dimensions of life that define how a person organizes their public and private behavior, including their attitudes associated with sex, family, education, and personal autonomy [1, 2]. Despite the abstract nature of such sensibilities, fundamental features of political ideology have been found to be deeply connected t...
Article
Disputes between those holding differing political views are ubiquitous and deep-seated, and they often follow common, recognizable lines. The supporters of tradition and stability, sometimes referred to as conservatives, do battle with the supporters of innovation and reform, sometimes referred to as liberals. Understanding the correlates of those...
Article
A broad, multidisciplinary empirical literature reports that individual-level differences in psychology and biology map onto variation in political orientation. In our target article we argued that negativity bias can explain a surprisingly large share of these findings. The commentators generally support the negativity bias hypothesis but suggest...
Article
Participation in electoral politics is affected by a host of social and demographics variables, but there is growing evidence that biological predispositions may also play a role in behavior related to political involvement. We examined the role of individual variation in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) stress axis parameters in explaining dif...
Article
This article reports results from the first twin study of adults in the United States that focuses exclusively and comprehensively on political traits. These data allow us to test whether a common set of genetic and environmental influences act upon a broad variety of values, personality traits, and political attitudes. In short, it allows us to em...
Article
Evidence that political attitudes and behavior are in part biologically and even genetically instantiated is much discussed in political science of late. Yet the classic twin design, a primary source of evidence on this matter, has been criticized for being biased toward finding genetic influence. In this article, we employ a new data source to tes...
Article
Full-text available
Disgust has been described as the most primitive and central of emotions. Thus, it is not surprising that it shapes behaviors in a variety of organisms and in a variety of contexts--including homo sapien politics. People who believe they would be bothered by a range of hypothetical disgusting situations display an increased likelihood of displaying...
Article
In this paper, we trace the route by which genetics could ultimately connect to issue attitudes and suggest that central to this connection are chronic dispositional preferences for mass-scale social rules, order, and conduct—what we label political ideology. The need to resolve bedrock social dilemmas concerning such matters as leadership style, p...
Article
Recent research has found a surprising degree of homogeneity in the personal political communication network of individuals but this work has focused largely on the tendency to sort into likeminded social, workplace, and residential political contexts. We extend this line of research into one of the most fundamental and consequential of political i...
Article
Variance components estimates of political and social attitudes suggest a substantial level of genetic influence, but the results have been challenged because they rely on data from twins only. In this analysis, we include responses from parents and nontwin full siblings of twins, account for measurement error by using a panel design, and estimate...
Article
Full-text available
New research suggests a portrait of political man that includes not only social influences but also genetic, physiological, neural, and very early developmental influences on adults’ attitudes toward and participation in democratic governance. To this point, empirical investigations have been hindered by a dearth of data on the biological concepts...
Article
Full-text available
Utilizing quantitative genetic models, the authors examine the sources of party identification and the intensity of that identification. The results indicate genes exert little, if any, influence on party identification, directly or indirectly through covariates. However, we find that genes appear to play a pivotal role in shaping the strength of a...
Article
Recent analyses of twin study data find evidence for a sizeable heritable component of liberal-conservative ideological orientations. Those findings are largely based on a single index of ideological orientations, the Wilson-Patterson scale, created from attitude positions across a large number of issue-of-the-day items. The underlying assumption o...
Article
Full-text available
In politics specifically and society generally people often make decisions on behalf of others or experience the results of decisions made on their behalf. In exactly what manner is this important class of decisions different from traditional situations in which people make decisions on their own behalf? How are people’s behavioral and thinking pat...
Article
Beckwith and Morris raise concerns about the value of twin studies for understanding the role of genetics in complex human behavior, but virtually all of their concerns have been raised and rebutted before. When it comes to the equal environments assumption (EEA), the best approach is to test for and control possible violations of the EEA on herita...
Article
Full-text available
Although political views have been thought to arise largely from individuals' experiences, recent research suggests that they may have a biological basis. We present evidence that variations in political attitudes correlate with physiological traits. In a group of 46 adult participants with strong political beliefs, individuals with measurably lowe...
Article
Political science traditionally has either ignored biology in favor of purely environmental explanations for political phenomena or merely ruminated about the likely role of biology, leaving data-based research on biopolitics in dangerously short supply. Currently, attention to the apparent genetic basis for political and social orientations holds...
Article
In the past, most political scientists have been oblivious to the growing empirical evidence challenging environmental determinism. Professor Charney, apparently as a result of the fact that genes and the environment interact in a complex fashion, advocates that this passive unawareness be replaced by active denial. Science, however, does not advan...
Article
Are political liberals generous? Are political conservatives conscientious? Are generous people personally agreeable? Research in behavioral genetics and elsewhere increasingly indicates a biological basis for the manner in which people behave in personal, interpersonal, and political situations, but this biological basis does not mean behavior in...
Article
In politics specifically and society generally people often make decisions on behalf of others or experience the results of decisions made on their behalf. In exactly what manner is this important class of decisions different from traditional situations in which people make decisions on their own behalf? How are people’s behavioral and thinking pat...
Article
Utilizing quantitative genetic models, we examine the sources of party identification and the intensity of that identification. The results indicate genes exert little, if any, influence on party identification, directly or indirectly through covariates. However, we find that genes appear to play a pivotal role in shaping the strength of an individ...
Article
hy do people think and act politically in the manner they do? Despite the foundational nature of this question, answers are unfortu- nately incomplete and unnecessarily tentative, largely because political scientists do not take seriously the possibility of nonenvironmental influences. The sug- gestion that people could be born with political pre-...
Article
In this article we propose that evolutionary biology can supply political science with a theory of the ultimate causes of human preferences and behaviors that it otherwise lacks. For the most part, political scientists are either unfamiliar with the social side of evolutionary theory or misidentify its key features. Far from being genetically...
Article
Why are people more willing to accept some governmental decisions than others? In this article, we present results from a series of original experiments showing that people’s reactions to a given outcome are heavily influenced by the procedure employed to produce the outcome.We find that subjects reactmuch less favorably when a decision maker inten...
Article
This research focuses on the aggregate effects of the House Banking Scandal on the 1992 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. While many commentators felt the scandal would transform the House of Representatives through massive displacement of members, we argue that the literature on scandals in Congress should have made us more cautious...
Article
This paper investigates the consequences of pronatalist population policy in Eastern Europe. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) techniques are used to analyze the effects of three different instances of pronatalist policy to determine the effects on the birthrate. These include the Romanian abortion restriction of 1966, the policy dec...
Article
Analyses of the effects of economic perceptions on voting behavior have been mostly confined to the United States. This study utilizes data gathered from the 1972, 1976, and 1980 German national elections in order to investigate the effects of the economy on the vote. The authors find support for the hypothesis that economic voting in the Federal R...
Article
A variety of recent research has dealt with the impact of economic conditions on congressional elections. The underlying assumption of this research has been that the effects of economic fluctuations are distributed evenly across members of the president's party. By focusing on subgroups of congressional candidates, we demonstrate that the importan...
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Full-text available
With the 1970 passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), federal regulation reached the American workplace. Given the newness of the legislation, any firm conclusion on its effectiveness seems premature. However, there is ample evidence on federal safety regulation of a specific workplace: the coal mine. The federal government has be...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract In politics specifically and society generally people are often in a position where either
Article
Full-text available
OF OXLEY ET AL.) Although political views have been thought to arise largely from individuals' experiences, recent research suggests that they may have a biological basis. We present evidence that variations in political attitudes correlate with physiological traits. In a group of 46 adult participants with strong political beliefs, individuals wit...

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