Sunday, December 9, 2012

IS OUR POLITICAL VIEW REALLY ENCODED IN OUR GENES?



By: Tom Stafford
Level of Difficulty:* However, I do have a warning: try this reading task after you have done the others in this section as it is a tiny bit harder.
BEFORE YOU READ
1.       In your view, what factors influence a person’s political opinions?
2.       Which of the factors you listed is the greatest influence in your view?

NOW WATCH THE VIDEO
Nature Vs Nurture | How Are Political Beliefs Formed?
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEHKb2bvv5A

QUESTIONS
1.       What are the conventional factors that are believed to shape our political views?
2.       The fact that there is a field of study called genopolitics proves that ………………………………..
3.       What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This began with a pivotal study?
4.       What surprising finding was made in the studies involving identical twins in relation to inherited political opinions?
5.       The purpose of the example of the mp3 player is to show that …………………………………. (Use your own words)
6.       Behavior, according to the text, is determined by the complicated relationship involving ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
7.       What does “That” refer to in the phrase “That would be ridiculous”?
8.       Believing that there is a simple, direct genetic basis for political belief would be illogical because of the following three reasons: ………………………………………………………………………… (You will need to tweak the text)
9.       The writer lists three examples: political opinions, personality traits and common health conditions. What do these examples have in common?
10.   What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This implies that people whose basic emotional responses to threats are more pronounced…”?
11.   What was the conclusion that differences in emotional processes may influence political beliefs based on?
12.   Based on your understanding of the text, how could the link between genes and political opinions be best described?
WRITING TASK
Write an essay or a paragraph discussing the factors that influence political opinions based on your own views and what you learnt from the text. Before doing so, seek out a related video on YouTube, ted.com or voanews.com and make notes. You can consider the following points as guidelines:
·         Environmental factors ( the family, neighborhood, friends, school, career, partners and the like)
·         Inborn inclinations ( personality and genetic factors; use the text)
IS OUR POLITICAL VIEW REALLY ENCODED IN OUR GENES KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
BBC future is, I have discovered, a treasure trove of rather straight forward but fascinating little texts and this is one of them. I can see it leading to some interesting discussion. If you wish, you could ditch the writing task and have them write a summary – provided you help that is; at this level, it would be tough.
1.       Our upbringing, career, friends and partners.
2.       The idea that political opinions have a genetic basis is widely accepted. Dash marks work like parentheses so that part of the sentence does not need to be included though it is not wrong if you do
3.       The idea that political views have a genetic component.
4.       The position people occupy on a scale from liberal to conservative is heritable.
5.       Possible answer: there is really very little information in the DNA
6.       Your genes, the proteins they create and your environment.
7.       A gene controlling how people answer questions about their political beliefs.
8.       The gene would have had to lies dormant for millions of years (this is enough although writing the rest would not be wrong); how could such a gene evolve before the invention of democracy; what would it do before voting became common.
9.       They have no sole genetic cause. The fact that they are things we are most interested in measuring is also a common point but considering the topic this answer would be illogical on its own. However, if you wrote both that would be fine but unnecessarily long.
10.   The fact that American volunteers who started to seat most when they heard a sudden noise were also more likely to support capital punishment and the Iraq war.
11.   The differences in brain structure between liberals and conservatives. This is enough. To see why, refer back to question 2.
12.   Political opinions are believed to develop differently in people with different basic biology.

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