Predisposed : liberals, conservatives, and the biology of political differences

October 1st, 2014 by

“Buried in many people and operating largely outside the realm of conscious thought are forces inclining us toward liberal or conservative political convictions. Our biology predisposes us to see and understand the world in different ways, not always reason and the careful consideration of facts. These predispositions are in turn responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that marks human history.

With verve and wiPredisposedt, renowned social scientists John Hibbing, Kevin Smith, and John Alford—pioneers in the field of biopolitics—present overwhelming evidence that people differ politically not just because they grew up in different cultures or were presented with different information. Despite the oft-heard longing for consensus, unity, and peace, the universal rift between conservatives and liberals endures because people have diverse psychological, physiological, and genetic traits. These biological differences influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientations to politics.

Political disputes typically spring from the assumption that those who do not agree with us are shallow, misguided, uninformed, and ignorant. Predisposed suggests instead that political opponents simply experience, process, and respond to the world differently. It follows, then, that the key to getting along politically is not the ability of one side to persuade the other side to see the error of its ways but rather the ability of each side to see that the other is different, not just politically, but physically. Predisposedwill change the way you think about politics and partisan conflict.

As a bonus, the book includes a “Left/Right 20 Questions” game to test whether your predispositions lean liberal or conservative.”

Excerpt from The Left/Right Twenty Questions Game in Predisposed

The Five Questions from Hardwired i
  1. Could you slap your father in the face (with his permission) as part of a comedy skit?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. When you go to work in the morning, do you often leave a mess in your apartment or house?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. Which lesson is more important to teach to children?
    1. Kindness
    2. Respect
  1. Do you get bored by abstract ideas and theoretical discussions?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  1. Think about this carefully for 15 seconds – “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Which answer is closer to your current thoughts?
    1. Okay…makes sense
    2. What?
Which item from each pair comes closest to describing you?ii
    1. Eccentric
    2. Conventional
    1. Decisive
    2. Flexible
    1. Open-Minded
    2. b. Moralistic
    1. Imaginative
    2. Practical
    1. Simple
    2. Complex
Which item from each pair comes closest to describing you?ii
    1. Small towns
    2. Big cities
    1. Romantic movies
    2. Comedies
    1. Country music
    2. Classical music
    1. Motorcycle
    2. SUV
    1. Book about sports
    2. Book about music
Read the book to take the rest of the quiz and find out how you scored.

iHardwired 2009 Christine Lavin, John Alford, John Hibbing, Jeff Mondak, and Gene Weingarten.

iiThe Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives: Personality Profiles, Interaction Styles, and the Things They Leave Behind Political Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 6. (December 2008), pp. 807-840, by Dana R. Carney, John T. Jost, Samuel D. Gosling, Jeff Potter.

Monday Missive – 9/29

September 29th, 2014 by

ames_fallWant to know what’s going on in the library each week? Every Monday we’ll highlight events related to The Ames Library and happening in/around the building. We’re calling it the Monday Missive…

Want to host an event in the library or reserve a study room? Find out about how to reserve rooms on our website!

Beckman Auditorium

Are you in the Cold War Gateway? If so, your class will be meeting in the Beckman Auditorium from 6:30-8:30 on Monday. Nursing 217 students will be in Beckman on Tuesday from 6-9. PoliSci 104 has the Auditorium book from 7-9 on Wednesday.

The Internation Film Series will be screening “Cesar Chavez”, on Thursday, 10/2 from 7-10pm in the Beckman Auditorium. This 2014 film will be presented by Eileen Galvez, assistant director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. It is part of the 3D series.

Instruction Lab, room 129

  • Engl 220, Tuesday
  • Econ 401, Wednesday
  • Socl 290, Wednesday
  • Gateway (Roesner), Thursday
  • Gateway (Brennan), Thursday
  • Span 468, Friday
  • Nurs 214, Friday

Administrative Meetings

  • 9/29, Information Technology’s Network group is meeting in room 214 (it’s on the east side of the 2nd floor) from 9:30-11:30
  • 9/29 & 10/1, CUPP is meeting in room 214 from 3-5pm
  • 9/30, OU users will meet in room 129 (the instruction lab) from 3:30-4:30. Rumor has it there will be chocolate shortbread.
  • 10/2, Assessment Committee meeting is in room 214 from 11-noon
  • 10/2, the Web Redesign Workgroup is meeting in room 214 from 1-2pm

What’s Happening this Week?

September 22nd, 2014 by

Want to catch up on what’s happening in the library this week? It’s going to be a busy week.

Prof. Schmidt’s Gateway class, Banned & Burned, is installing three Banned Book Week displays on the first floor. Banned Book Week is celebrated every Septemeber to call attention to books that have been challenged, banned, and burned, both historically and currently. Read more about it by visiting the organization’s website.

IMG_20140922_083911[1]We’re also celebrating SophoM0RE week, September 21-26. On the East Wall of the first floor you’ll find a poster and orange stickies – fill out a card and post it to the wall to let everyone know what makes being a sophomore special!

Is your class 1 of 12 visiting the library for an instruction session? If so, you’ll be in room 129, which is in the southeast corner of the first floor, or in the Beckman Auditorium, which is on the lower level.

That’s only the beginning!

On Wednesday, 9/25, join fellow IWU student Tim McDunn in the Beckman Auditorium at 4:00pm for his talk, “Lost in Dante’s Forest.” In this lecture, we will explore the contemplative nature of forests in Dante’s Divine Comedy and ask how Dante was able to use Christian doctrine as a means of reorganizing ideas that had been passed down from before the Christian era. How did the Christian doctrine of Grace prevent Dante from being forever lost in a hypnotic state of contemplation? The research for this presentation was made possible by the 2014 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant: Re-centering the Humanities.

On Thursday, 9/26, join Dr. Ada Bieber of Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, who will present, “Bridges into Holocaust Memory: Janusz Korczak’s Orphanage as a Subject of Two Contemporary Polish and German Picture Books.” This talk is sponsored by the Russian and East European Studies Concentration of International Studies, the German, Russian and Asian Languages Department and the Isaac Funk Endowed Professorship Fund.

Stick around after Dr. Bieber’s talk for a screening of “Four Days in September,” 1997, Brazil/USA, presented by Professor of History Michael Weis as part of the International Film Series.

Finally, come join IWU Pride Alliance on Friday, 9/27, starting at 4:30pm in the Beckman Auditorium for a presentation on LGBT+ families raising children as a gay couple. There will also be discussions of the cross sections of sexuality and race as bilingual, multicultural, and multirace families.

It’s been 13 years…

September 11th, 2014 by

9-11 at IWU (2)Thirteen years ago terrorists attacked the East Coast cities of New York and Washington, D.C. Thousands of people died.

The Argus and other IWU publications from those months are available, digitally, through the Tate Archives & Special Collections.

On the 10 year anniversary, the New York Public Library called for us to look back and remember; now, think about where we were and where we are now.

The following resources are taken directly from the NYPL’s blog.

Oral Histories and Archives

Personal Narratives in the NYPL Catalog

Rainy Day? Explore Ames!

September 9th, 2014 by
Ames Plaza in the Rain

Ames Plaza in the Rain

It’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty rainy day, if you believe the weather forecasters. What to do then?

Spend some time exploring the library, of course!

The Ames Library has little treasures hidden on each floor. We’ve shown you where the most recent Student Art Purchase Award is kept, but did you know there’s student art throughout the library, with the most pieces on the second floor. This award goes back almost twenty years – see if you know any of the artists.

What other hidden treasures does Ames hold? We’ve got a globe from a former Illinois congressman featuring the USSR. Talk about historical! Can you figure out which floor it’s on?

Globe featuring USSR from former Illinois congressman

Globe featuring USSR from former Illinois congressman

Here’s a hint – it’s right next to some really comfortable rocking chairs. Want to learn about the congressman who donated the globe, talk to Meg Miner in the Tate Archives and Special Collections.

Historical objects aside, we’ve also got some great spaces for you to kick back in and watch the rain. Do you prefer to curl up? Try and find one of our Sumo chairs. Do you prefer to be surrounded by dark woods and award winning literature and scholarship? Check out the Bates & Merwin Reading Room.

Sumo Chairs - Great for Studying and Napping

Sumo Chairs – Great for Studying and Napping


Is it too early in the semester to be thinking about in-depth research assignments? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered for that as well. There’s a Popular Reading Collection near the Circulation Desk that’s sure to have stress-free reading for everyone. Check one out, and go curl up in a Sumo chair or find the Bates & Merwin Reading Room. If you’re having any trouble finding anything, though, make sure you ask for help. Help@Ames and the Circulation Desk are both on the first floor.

Bates & Merwin Reading Room

Bates & Merwin Reading Room


Bikes in the Library!

September 2nd, 2014 by
Bike Rack Located on East Side of Ames Library Entrance

Bike Rack Located on East Side of Ames Library Entrance

If you’ve been around the Illinois Wesleyan campus in the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the rapid growth in the number of bikes on campus. For many students, the best way to get around town is by bike. Not owning a car means more flexibility with parking, much lower cost of repairs and insurance, and never needing to buy gas. For the university, bike racks are significantly more efficient – each bike parking space costs an order of magnitude less to create and maintain than each car parking space, and they can be placed much closer to building entrances, alleviating many concerns about lack of convenient parking.

Still, while almost all of our students know how to ride a bike and would gladly use one to get around town, only a small percent of students have their own bikes on campus. Queue Titan Free Ride, the Illinois Wesleyan bike share program. Much like books in a library, ten bikes are available for checkout for 24 hours at a time at the Help@Ames desk or the Hansen Student Center Information Desk by anyone with an Illinois Wesleyan ID card, free of charge. A few helmets are also available for checkout at the Hansen desk.
Questions about the program can be directed to Michael Gorman, IWU Bike Committee Chair, at or 309-556-3262.

Student Art in the Library

August 28th, 2014 by
"Octopot" by Kate Robertson

“Octopot” by Kate Robertson

Introducing the 19th Annual Ames Library Senior Art Purchase Award


Ceramics by Kate Robertson ’14

Since 1996, the Illinois Wesleyan University’s library has purchased a piece of artwork selected from among works exhibited annually by Senior, Bachelor of Fine Arts students in the School of Art. The Student Art Purchase Award is presented during the opening reception of B.F.A. show held each April. The winning work is displayed on the entry level of Ames Library for one academic year, after which it is relocated to the Ames Library second floor where the entire collection of student artwork is permanently displayed.

For additional information, contact Robert Delvin, fine arts librarian for The Ames Library, at (309) 556-3003.

Scholarly Walls & Bridges: Paywalls and Open Access

August 26th, 2014 by

Over 20 courses are being offered in the 2014-2015 academic year related to the course cluster theme of Walls & Bridges. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this theme seeks to question the purpose of walls and bridges: are they built for protection to keep the “bad” out or as an exercise of power to keep the “good” in?

From the course cluster themopen access logoe description:

“The world continues to be mark
ed by the construction and demolition of both walls and bridges, physical, economic, ideological, and political. Walls and bridges serve to both separate and unite; however, the reasons for building walls and bridges is complex – informed by history, power, and ideas.”
Libraries deal with these sort of complex issues daily as they relate to scholarship. Many libraries pay millions of dollars each year in order for you to access scholarly resources. There are normal costs associated with publishing scholarship, but what happens when the costs of journals rises so far that even elite research-intensive universities cannot afford to keep up.

Are publishers building walls around scholarship by charging so much for access?

If publishers are building walls, are there “bridges” into scholarship? The Open Access movement has gained momentum in challenging the publishing industry to account for increasing profit margins. There are, however, many misconceptions about open access
, perpetuated by the publishing industry.

Want to learn more? Check out our display on the first floor of the Ames Library or ask a librarian about how licenses, paywalls, embargoes, and open access affect your experience at IWU.

Welcome, Titans!

August 20th, 2014 by
Don't Panic - Ames is here to help.

Don’t Panic – Ames is here to help.

Ames Library is excited to see all the new faces on campus this week. It was a very quiet summer and we’re glad you’re joining the IWU family.

As you prepare for academic advising and registration, here are a few things you might need to know.

Titan Orientation Leaders (TOLs) will be in Ames 129 from 8:00am until 5:00pm on Thursday, to help out with the registration process. You just need your campus ID and password to log into the computers. Do not hesitate to ask these TOLs if you have any questions.

You can also at the staff at the Help@Ames desk (309-556-1551 or walk-up) if you have technical problems.

DO NOT PANIC, someone will be able to help.

There are also drop-ins available at the Help@Ames Desk from 3-5pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week as part of Turning Titan My Way. Learn more about it in the First Year Orientation Handbook and the Transfer Handbook.

Turning Titan Week – Ames Library Hours

  • Wednesday – Friday, August 20th – 22nd: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 23rd: Noon – 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 24th: 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Come Work for Us!

August 18th, 2014 by
Help@Ames, located on the entry level near the Information Commons, provides both research assistance and technology support during library hours.  You can learn about starting points for library research, install your wireless client, or reserve a project room at the Help@Ames Desk.

Help@Ames, located on the entry level near the Information Commons, provides both research assistance and technology support.

Have you started thinking about student employment at IWU? If not, you should come work for Ames Library!

Students work in all the Ames Library departments, helping us stay open late and provide the IWU community with the best services possible.

Ames Library student assistants gain valuable life skills working across the library, including time and project management, organization, leadership, and information seeking skills.

Interested? Learn more about the kinds of jobs available at Ames Library. Or apply now!

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