Speaker: Prof Richard Ebstein 

Title: Association between the dopamine D4 receptor gene exon III VNTR and political attitudes in female Han Chinese

Date: Thursday 27 August, 12-1 pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room


Twin and family studies suggest that political attitudes are partially determined by an individual’s genotype. The dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) exon III repeat region that has been extensively studied in connection with human behavior, is a plausible candidate to contribute to individual differences in political attitudes. A first U.S. study provisionally identified this gene with political attitude along a liberal-conservative axis albeit contingent upon number of friends. In a large sample of 1771 Han Chinese university students in Singapore we observed a significant main effect of association between the DRD4 exon III VNTR and political attitude. Subjects with two copies of the 4-repeat allele (4R/4R) were significantly more conservative. Our results provided evidence for a role of the DRD4 gene variants in contributing to individual differences in political attitude particularly in females and more generally suggested that associations between individual genes, and neurochemical pathways, contributing to traits relevant to the social sciences can be provisionally identified.

About the Speaker:

Prof Ebstein’s research revolves around human behavior genetics, with the overarching goal of providing molecular insights into the role of genes as a partial contributor to all facets of human behavior. His work is highly interdisciplinary and combines personality, social, cognitive, and neuropsychology with techniques of molecular genetics. Major research areas include neuroeconomics, the genetics of social behavior and normal personality, autism, ADHD, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

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