Association for Politics and the Life Sciences

Annual Conference

34th Meeting:
April 5, 2017
Chicago, IL, USA
(immediately preceding the 2017 Midwest Political Science Association Meeting)

Register at Eventbrite

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Individual paper presentation, panel, and roundtable proposals are welcome on any topic that pertains to the following broad categories: new directions in politics and the life sciences, biobehavior, life science policies (e.g., health policy, genetically modified foods, stem cell research), neurobiology and politics, bioethics, bioterrorism, environmental policy and communication (e.g., media coverage and public opinion about climate change), genetics and politics, biotechnology, and other biopolitical topics. 

Multiple types of presentations welcome including original research, updates on existing research, research designs, and replication studies.  


Kevin Smith, Ph.D.
Chair of Political Science and Professor
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"In Your Face: Emotional Expressivity as a Predictor of Ideology

Previous research suggests people can accurately predict the political affiliations of others using only information extracted from the face. It is less clear from this research, however, what particular facial physiological processes or features communicate such information, or even whether these attributions of political affiliation are being inferred from confounding signals such as gender, race and age rather than any information uniquely encoded in the face.  This paper provides a theoretical account of why facial emotional expressivity may provide reliable signals of political orientation and tests the theory in four empirical studies. There are statistically significant liberal/conservative differences in self-reported emotional expressivity, in facial emotional expressivity measured physiologically, in the perceived emotional expressivity and ideology of political elites, and in an experiment which finds more emotionally expressive faces are perceived as more liberal. These results suggest emotional expressivity may provide a way to help accurately classify political affiliation from facial cues.


DePaul University
DePaul Center, 11th Floor
1 East Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 USA  

TRAVEL & LODGING: To be arranged individually.  


Professionals: $85 (includes 1-year individual online subscription to Politics and the Life Sciences)

Students: $50 (for students registered full time in a graduate program) 



Up to four $250 travel grants are available to graduate students. To be eligible, the student must be registered full time in a graduate program and present an empirically based paper at the conference. Please contact Gregg Murray at for more information.

Previous Conferences

33rd Annual Meeting (2015) 
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
October 23-24, 2015

Opening Keynote: 
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Ph.D.
, University of Pennsylvania: "Sidestepping Rhetorical Quicksand in Debates in the Life Sciences"

Closing Keynote: 
Dietram Scheufele, Ph.D.
, University of Wisconsin-Madison: "(New) Public Interfaces in the Life Sciences"

Download Program PDF

32nd Annual Meeting (2014) 
Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
October 17-18, 2014

Keynote: Gregory S. Berns, M.D., Ph.D., Emory University: "Neuroimaging of Sacred Values"

Virtually attend through participants' social media conversations.

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31st Annual Meeting (2013) 
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
October 25-26, 2013

Keynote: Gad Sad, Ph.D., Concordia University (Montreal, CAN): "The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature"

Virtually attend through participants' social media conversations.

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30th Annual Meeting (2011)
Garfield Suites Hotel, Cincinnati, OH 
October 13-15, 2011 

Keynote: Mark van Vugt, Ph.D., VU University (Amsterdam, NL): "An Evolutionary Theory of Leadership"

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29th Annual Meeting (2010)  
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 
October 14-16, 2010

Keynote: Elinor Ostrom, Ph.D., Indiana University: "A Polycentric Approach to Climate Change"

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27th Annual Meeting (2007) 

Garfield Suites Hotel, Cincinnati, OH 
October 11-13, 2007 

Keynote: Owen D. Jones, J.D., Vanderbilt University: "Evolution, Primates, Neurons, and Law"

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26th Annual Meeting (2006) 
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 
October 25-26, 2006

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25th Annual Meeting (2005) 

The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC 
August 31 - September 4, 2005

Keynote: Napoleon Chagnon, Ph.D., University of California – Santa Barbara:  "Warfare Among the Yanomano"

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24th Annual Meeting (2004) 
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chicago, IL 
Sept 2-5, 2004

Keynote: Gary Marcus, Ph.D., New York University: "Birth of the Mind: How a Tiny Number of Genes Create the Complexities of Human Thought"

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