The Genetics of Political Attitudes and Behavior: Claims and Refutations

Joseph, Jay
November 2010
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;2010, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p200
Academic Journal
Some political scientists have argued in recent years that twin research shows that genetic factors play an important role in shaping political attitudes, ideologies, and behavior. Moreover, some researchers claim to have identified genes for political traits at the molecular level. The author argues that the main theoretical assumption of the twin method, which holds that monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs experience equal environments, is untenable. Therefore, the results of twin studies can be completely explained by nongenetic factors. The author also argues that recent gene discovery claims in political science are unlikely to be replicated. He concludes that because genetic interpretations of twin study results are confounded by environmental factors, political scientists have no reason to revise previous socialization theories of political traits.


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