Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 614 (2007), pp. 6–14; doi 10.1177/0002716207305471 Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Political and Social Science; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission. http://ann.sagepub. com/cgi/content/abstract/614/1/6


A broad cross-section of the social sciences is increasingly turning to biology and evolutionary theory to help explain human behavior. Political science is a notable exception to this trend, even though there are sound conceptual reasons for expecting biological processes to play an important role in explaining political behavior. While agreeing with the conceptual arguments, the authors believe original empirical research is the most persuasive means of convincing political science to incorporate biology in explanations of political behavior. Techniques developed in neuroscience, behavioral genetics, agent-based simulation, experimental economics, and other fields offer exciting research opportunities to explore questions of central interest to political scientists. The research presented in this volume provides examples of replicable, empirical evidence that political beliefs and behavior are a product of biological as well as environmental factors.