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Scholarly Interest Report
         
John R. Alford
Professor
Professor of Political Science
 
e-mail:jra@rice.edu
 
  • B.S. Political Science (1975) University of Houston, Houston, Texas
  • M.P.A. Public Administration (1977) University of Houston, Houston, Texas
  • M.A. Political Science (1980) University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Ph.D. Political Science (1981) University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
 
Primary Department
   Department of Political Science
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Research Areas
 American Politics, Congressional Elections, Political Behavior, Biology of Politics
 

The Biological Basis of Political Behavior

 

My current research agenda concerns the biological basis of human political and social behavior. This includes small group experiments designed to probe regularities and variability in basic social behaviors, evolutionary explanations of behaviors and predispositions, twin studies of the genetic heritability of behavioral tendencies, and brain imaging studies of specific areas of brain activation in political decision-making.

 
Teaching Areas
 American Politics, Political Behavior, Biology of Politics
 
Selected Publications
 Refereed articles
 

Hatemi, Smith, Alford, Martin, Hibbing "The genetic and environmental foundations of political, psychological, social, and economic behaviors: a panel study of twins and families." Twin Research and Human Genetics, 18(3) (June, 2015) : 243-55.

 
 

John Alford, Carolyn L. Funk, Matthew Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith, Nicholas R. Eaton, Robert F. Krueger, Lindon J. Eaves, John R. Hibbing "Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Orientations." Political Psychology, 34 (December, 2013) : 805-819.

 
 

John R. Alford, Kevin B. Smith, and John R. Hibbing "Differences in Negativity Bias Underlie Variations in Political Ideology." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Forthcoming, 2014) In Press

 
 

John Alford, Kevin Smith, Peter K. Hatemi, Lindon J. Eaves, Carolyn Funk, and John R. Hibbing "Biology, Ideology, and Epistemology: How Do We Know Political Attitudes Are Inherited and Why Should We Care?." American Journal of Political Science (January, 2012)

 
 

John Alford, Kevin Smith, John Hibbing, Douglas Oxley, And Matthew Hibbing "Linking Genetics and Political Attitudes: Re-Conceptualizing Political Ideology." Political Psychology (June, 2011)

 
 

John Alford, Kevin Smith, John Hibbing, Douglas Oxley, and Matthew Hibbing "Disgust Sensitivity and the Neurophysiology of Left-Right Political Orientations." PlosOne (2011)

 
 

John Alford, Peter Hatemi, John R. Hibbing, Nicholas Martin and Lindon Eaves "The Politics of Mate Choice." Journal of Politics (2011)

 
 ¿Is Politics in our Genes?¿ with John R. Hibbing, Tidsskriftet Politik, (February, 2007).
 
 

Alford, John R., Carolyn L. Funk, and John R. Hibbing "Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?." American Political Science Review, 99 (2005, May) : 153-167.

 
 

Alford, John R. and John R. Hibbing "Accepting Authoritative Decisions: Humans as Wary Cooperators." American Journal of Political Science, 48 (Jan., 2004) : 62-76.

 
 

Alford, John R., Carolyn L. Funk, and John R. Hibbing "The Source of Political Attitudes and Behaviors: Assessing Genetic and Enviornmental Contributions." American Political Science Review (2005) In Revision

 
 

Alford, John R., and John R. Hibbing "The Origin of Politics: An Evolutionary Theory of Political Behavior." Perspectives on Politics, 2 (Dec., 2004) : 707-723.

 
 Articles
 

"Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits" Douglas R. Oxley, Kevin B. Smith, John Alford, Matthew V. Hibbing, Jennifer L. Miller, Mario Scalora, Peter K. Hatemi, and John R. Hibbing, Science, (September 19, 2008)

 
 

"The New Empirical Biopolitics" with John R. Hibbing, Annual Review of Political Science, (2008).

 
 Is There a 'Party' in Your Genes, Peter Hatemi, John R. Alford, John R. Hibbing, Nicholas Martin, and Lindon Eaves, Political Research Quarterly, (forthcoming)
 
 ¿Personal, Interpersonal, and Political Temperaments¿ with John R. Hibbing, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, (November, 2007).
 
 

Alford, John R. and John R. Hibbing "Biology and Rational Choice." Political Economy Newsletter (Fall, 2005)

 
 Books
 

John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith, and John R. Alford "Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences."  (2013)

 
 Book chapters
 

"The Ultimate Source of Political Opinions:  Genes and the Environment" with John Hibbing, in Understanding Public Opinion, 3rd Edition eds. Barbara Norrander and Clyde Wilcox, Washington D.C.:  CQ Press, (2010).

 
 

John Alford, John Hibbing "Electoral Convergence of the Two Houses of Congress." The Exceptional Senate (2002)

 
 Other
 

John Hibbing, John Alford, and Kevin Smith "'Predisposed' - A Psychology Today Blog." 


http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/predisposed
 
 

"Beyond Liberals and Conservatives to Political Genotypes and Phenotypes" with John R. Hibbing and Cary Funk, Perspectives on Politics, (June, 2008).

 
 

"Twin Studies, Molecular Genetics, Politics, and Tolerance: A Response to Beckwith and Morris" with John R. Hibbing and Cary Funk, Perspectives on Politics, (December, 2008). 

 
 

John R. Alford "We?re All in this Together: The Decline of Trust in Government, 1958-1996." What is it About Government that Americans Dislike? (2001) : 28-46.

 
 

John Richard Alford "The 2000 Census and the New Redistricting." Texas State Bar Association School Law Section Newsletter (July 2000)

 
 

"We're All in this Together: The Decline of Trust in Government, 1958-1996." Public Orientation Toward Government in the United States (forthcoming, 2001)

 
Presentations
 Conference Committee Member
 ¿Not by Twins Alone: Using the Extended Twin Family Design to Investigate the Genetic Basis of Political Beliefs¿ Annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2007), with Peter Hatemi, John Hibbing, Nicholas Martin, and Lindon Eaves.
 
 Invited Papers
 

"The Neural Basis of Representative Democracy." 2006 Hendricks Conference on Biology, Evolution, and Political Behavior, Lincoln, Nebraska. (Oct, 14, 2006) With John Hibbing

 
 

"The Challenge Evolutionary Biology Poses for Rational Choice." Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC. (Sept., 2005) With John Hibbing and Kevin Smith

 
 Invited Talks
 

"Politics in Our Genes." TedX-RiceU, (April, 2013)

 
 

"Predisposed:  The Neuroscience of Political Ideology." Department of Political Science, University of New Mexico, (May, 2013)

 
 

"Biology and Politics." Department of Political Science and Biology Department, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University. (Feb., 2008)

 
 Invited talf to the Faculty and graduate students in the department political psych. series.
 
 Participant on a roundtable on Bio-politics focusing on Ira Carmen's book "Politics in the Laboratory".
 
 

"Are Politics in the Genes?." Rice Alumni Group, Washington DC. (Nov. 1, 2006)

 
 

"Genes and Politics." Rice Women's Discussion group, Houston, TX. (Oct. 18, 2006)

 
 

"Genes, Brains and Political Behavior." Rice Alumni Group, Chicago, IL. (Oct. 19, 2006)

 
 

"The 2006 Election." Rice Comunity Dialogue Luncheon, Founders Room, Rice. (Nov. 17, 2006)

 
 

"The Biology of Politics." Rice Alumni Meeting, Austin, TX. (Sept. 26, 2006)

 
 

"Genes, Ideology, and Political Association: The Behavioral Genetics of Human Politics." Political Science Department, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. (December 7, 2005)

 
 Keynote Speaker
 

"Genes, Brains and Political Behavior ." Second Annual Alumni Evening - Dept. of Political Science, University of Houston, (February, 2013)

 
 Lectures
 

"Predisposed:  Liberals, Cooonservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences." Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, (October, 2013)

 
 

"Genes, Brains, and Political Behavior." Rice Alumni Event, New York. (October 27, 2005)

 
 

"The Biology of Politics." Rice Alumni Lunch, Dallas. (June 22, 2005)

 
 

Lecturer.  "The New Congressional Elections." Rice Continuing Education Course on the 2004 Elections, Houston, Texas. (October 7, 2004)

 
 Other
 Roundtable Participant ¿Genes, Brains, and Core Political Orientations¿ 2008 Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association, Las Vegas.
 
 

"The New Redistricting." Annual Retreat of the Texas State Bar Association School Law Subsection, San Antonio, Texas. (July 12-13)

 
 

"Isolating the Origins of Incumbency Advantage: An Analysis of House Primaries, 1956-1998." Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Atlanta, GA. With Kevin Arceneaux

 
 

"The Impact of Organizational Structure on the Production of Social Capital Among Group Members." Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Atlanta, GA. With Allison Rinden

 
 

"Interest Group Participation and Social Capital." Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois. (September 1999) With Allison Rinden

 
 

"Race Redistricting." (Panel Discussant), Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois. (September 1999)

 
 

"The Electorally Indistinct Senate." Norman Thomas Conference on Senate Exceptionalism, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. (October 1999) With John R. Hibbing

 
 Panelist
 ¿Looking for Political Genes: The Influence of Serotonin on Political and Social Values¿ Annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2008), with Peter Hatemi, Sarah Medland, John Hibbing, and Nicholas Martin.
 
 ¿The Ideological Animal: The Origins and Implications of Ideology¿ Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, MA (2008), with Kevin Smith, Matthew Hibbing, Douglas Oxley, and John Hibbing
 
 ¿The Physiological Differences of Liberals and Conservatives¿ Annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2008), with Kevin Smith, Douglas Oxley, and John Hibbing.
 
 ¿Getting from Genes to Politics: The Connecting Role of Emotion-Reading Capability¿ Annual Meeting of the International Society for Political Psychology, Portland, OR, (2007.), with John Hibbing.
 
 ¿Not by Twins Alone: Using the Extended Twin Family Design to Investigate the Genetic Basis of Political Beliefs¿ Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2007), with Peter Hatemi, John Hibbing, Matthew Keller, Nicholas Martin, Sarah Medland, and Lindon Eaves.
 
 

"How are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted? A Research Agenda ." Annual Midwest Political Science Meeting, Chicago, IL. (April 14, 2006) With John Hibbing

 
 

"The Neurological Basis of Representaive Democracy." Annual American Political Science Assoc. Meetings, Philadelphia, PA. (Sept 1, 2006) With John Hibbing

 
 

"The Politics of Mate Choice." Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. (Jan. 7, 2006) With John Hibbing

 
 

"Decision Making on Behalf of Others." Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC. (Sept., 2005)

 
 

"The Source of Political Attitudes and Behavior: Assessing Genetic and Environmental Contributions." Annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago Illinois. (April, 2005) With John Hibbing and Carolyn Funk

 
 

primary presenter.  "The Source of Political Attitudes and Behavior: Assessing Genetic and Environmental Contributions." Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois. (Sept., 2004) With Carolyn Funk and John Hibbing

 
 

"Accepting Authoritative Decisions: Humans As Wary Cooperators." Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago. (March, 2002) With John Hibbing

 
 Posters
 ¿Factorial Association: A generalization of the Fulker between-within model to the multivariate case¿ Annual meeting of the Behavioral Genetics Association, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2007), with Sarah Medland, Peter Hatemi, John Hibbing, William Coventry, Nicholas Martin, and Michael Neale.
 
 Session Chair
 

"Neuroscientific Advances in the Study of Political Science." Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Assoc., Philadelphia, PA. (Sept. 1, 2006)

 
 

"Public Opinion Leadership Effects." Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. (Jan 6, 2006)

 
 Workshops
 

"What Neuroscience has to offer Political Science." American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA. (Aug. 30, 2006) With John Hibbing

 
Editorial Positions
 Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Politics. (2008 - 2008)

 Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Politics. (2007 - 2007)

 Other, American Political Science Review. (2000 - 2000)

 Other, American Journal of Political Science. (2000 - 2000)

 Other, American Politics Quarterly. (2000 - 2000)

 Other, Comparative Politics. (2000 - 2000)

 Other, Legislative Studies Quarterly. (2000 - 2000)

 Other, Policy Studies Review. (2000 - 2000)

 Other, Political Behavior. (2000 - 2000)

 Other, Western Political Quarterly. (2000 - 2000)

Supervised Theses & Dissertations
 Stacy Ulbig, Ph.D. Subnational Contextual Influences on Political Trust. (2002) (Thesis Director)

 Kevin Arceneaux, Ph.D. Voting Behavior in the Context of U.S. Federalism. (2003) (Thesis Director)

Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
 Visiting Fellow, The Hoover Institution (April, 2007)

 Reviewer, National Science Foundation