The genetic correlates of cognitive flexibility and their links to ideological thinking

Study code

Lead researcher
Prof. Trevor Robbins

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
University of Cambridge

Speciality area
Neurological Disorders


We have already recruited 1200 participants online but would like to increase this. We are now seeking to extend our established online studies with a genetic sample, to allow us to investigate the genetic correlates of the psychological phenomena of interest. Participants will be asked to complete an online survey from their personal computer or laptop and we will use data from their sample previously donated to the BioResource.

The online survey consists of two parts, both of which take place on the own computer or laptop.  Following informed consent, the first section lasts approximately 25 minutes.  It consists of a number of psychological tasks that measure participants’ executive functions such as their working memory capacity, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility. These are fun interactive cognitive brain games that participants enjoy. In the second section, participants are asked to complete a survey consisting of questions about their personality, political preferences, and demographic information. All of these questions are anonymous, completely optional (no question is compulsory), and non-intrusive. This second section lasts approximately 15-20 minutes. The whole thing typically takes less than an hour.

The aim of conducting the proposed study is to investigate how dopamine-related gene polymorphisms might mediate the relationships we have identified so far between ideological orientations and psychological executive functions.

The findings from our previous studies on the topic are now under review or in press at prestigious journals, such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), findings from this proposed study will inform past and future work on the topic in a significant way.