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Friday, January 3, 2014

Ideology Is Heritable Yet Societies Can Change Their Views Quickly

By Jonathan Haidt
Social Evolution Forum
Originally published December 16, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

From my perspective as a social psychologist, who studies morality from an evolutionary perspective, rapid attitude change is not hard to explain. I am impressed by the consistent data on heritability, showing that some very important parts of our moral and political views are innate. But innate does not mean hard-wired or unmalleable; it  means “structured in advance of experience, and experience can edit and alter that first draft.” (That’s a paraphrase from Gary Marcus). So even if one is born predisposed to questioning authority and seeking out diversity, life experiences can still alter one’s habitual reactions. Becoming a parent, especially of girls, seems to make people more conservative (they perceive more threats in the world).

The entire article is here.

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