Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Orientations

Carolyn L. Funk, Kevin B. Smith, John R. Alford, Matthew V. Hibbing, Nicholas R. Eaton, Robert F. Krueger, Lindon J. Eaves, John R. Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


This article reports results from the first twin study of adults in the United States that focuses exclusively and comprehensively on political traits. These data allow us to test whether a common set of genetic and environmental influences act upon a broad variety of values, personality traits, and political attitudes. In short, it allows us to empirically investigate whether there are a core set of predispositions that form the basis of our political orientations and, if so, whether these predispositions are shaped by the same environmental and innate forces. The key finding from our analysis is that there are core political predispositions that are rooted in common genetic and environmental influences and that these predispositions are empirically distinct from broader personality traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-819
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Authoritarianism
  • Egalitarianism
  • Genetics
  • Ideology
  • Twin study
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Social Psychology
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science


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