LINCOLN , Neb., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- That pink-or-blue baby blanket issue has political overtones -- U.S. political scientists say a person's liberal or conservative bent is in the DNA.
The study, led by University of Nebraska-Lincoln political science Professor Kevin Smith, was exploring whether there was a biological basis for people's political attitudes, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Smith said researchers found opinions on hot-button issues -- such as gun control, pacifism and capital punishment -- are strongly associated with physiological traits probably present at birth.
"What is revolutionary about this paper is that it shows the path from genes to physiology to behavior," said James Fowler, a political science professor at University of California-San Diego who was not involved in the research.
The key factor is what people fear naturally, researchers said.
Fowler said the study added to research suggesting humans over millions of years developed two cognitive styles -- conservative and liberal. Cautious conservatives protected societies from taking undue risks, while more adventuresome liberals fostered cooperation.
"For the species to survive, you need both," he said.