Explorations of political attitudes and ideologies have sought to explain where they come from. They have been presumed to be rooted in processes of socialization; to be imposed by elites through partisan affiliations, the social milieu, and experiences; or to result from psychological traits. Far less attention has been focused on the inherent component of attitudes and where attitudes lead. Synthesizing research across academic fields, we propose that attitudes are a core constituent element of individual temperament, with far-reaching influence on many aspects of psychological and social functioning. Once instantiated, political values guide human behavior across domains, including affiliation into social networks, mate selection, physiological perception, psychological disposition, personality characteristics, morality construction, decision making, and selection into the very environments that influence political preferences. Here, we reconceptualize the ontology of political attitudes and ideologies from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective and as a combination of biological and environmental processes that drive an entire suite of coordinated downstream effects across the life course.


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