Are political orientations genetically transmitted?

John R. Alford, Carolyn L. Funk, John R Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

455 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We test the possibility that political attitudes and behaviors are the result of both environmental and genetic factors. Employing standard methodological approaches in behavioral genetics - specifically, comparisons of the differential correlations of the attitudes of monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins - we analyze data drawn from a large sample of twins in the United States, supplemented with findings from twins in Australia. The results indicate that genetics plays an important role in shaping political attitudes and ideologies but a more modest role in forming party identification; as such, they call for finer distinctions in theorizing about the sources of political attitudes. We conclude by urging political scientists to incorporate genetic influences, specifically interactions between genetic heritability and social environment, into models of political attitude formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-167
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Volume99
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

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political attitude
attitude formation
heredity
political ideology
political behavior
political scientist
environmental factors
interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Are political orientations genetically transmitted? / Alford, John R.; Funk, Carolyn L.; Hibbing, John R.

In: American Political Science Review, Vol. 99, No. 2, 01.01.2005, p. 153-167.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Alford, John R. ; Funk, Carolyn L. ; Hibbing, John R. / Are political orientations genetically transmitted?. In: American Political Science Review. 2005 ; Vol. 99, No. 2. pp. 153-167.
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