Genetic influences on political ideologies: Twin analyses of 19 measures of political ideologies from five democracies and genome-wide findings from three populations

Peter K. Hatemi, Sarah E. Medland, Robert Klemmensen, Sven Oskarsson, Levente Littvay, Christopher Dawes, Brad Verhulst, Rose McDermott, Asbjørn Sonne Nørgaard, Casey A. Klofstad, Kaare Christensen, Magnus Johannesson, Patrik K E Magnusson, Lindon J. Eaves, Nicholas G. Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Almost 40 years ago, evidence from large studies of adult twins and their relatives suggested that between 30 and 60 % of the variance in social and political attitudes could be explained by genetic influences. However, these findings have not been widely accepted or incorporated into the dominant paradigms that explain the etiology of political ideology. This has been attributed in part to measurement and sample limitations, as well the relative absence of molecular genetic studies. Here we present results from original analyses of a combined sample of over 12,000 twins pairs, ascertained from nine different studies conducted in five democracies, sampled over the course of four decades. We provide evidence that genetic factors play a role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the era, or the population sampled. The only exception is a question that explicitly uses the phrase "Left-Right". We then present results from one of the first genome-wide association studies on political ideology using data from three samples: a 1990 Australian sample involving 6,894 individuals from 3,516 families; a 2008 Australian sample of 1,160 related individuals from 635 families and a 2010 Swedish sample involving 3,334 individuals from 2,607 families. No polymorphisms reached genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis. The combined evidence suggests that political ideology constitutes a fundamental aspect of one's genetically informed psychological disposition, but as Fisher proposed long ago, genetic influences on complex traits will be composed of thousands of markers of very small effects and it will require extremely large samples to have enough power in order to identify specific polymorphisms related to complex social traits.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)282-294
    Number of pages13
    JournalBehavior Genetics
    Volume44
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2014

    Fingerprint

    political ideology
    Democracy
    democracy
    genome
    Genome
    Population
    polymorphism
    sampling
    Twin Studies
    Genome-Wide Association Study
    etiology
    meta-analysis
    ideology
    Meta-Analysis
    Molecular Biology
    genetic polymorphism
    Psychology
    molecular genetics
    family

    Keywords

    • Attitudes
    • Authoritarianism
    • GWAS
    • Ideology
    • Politics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Genetics
    • Genetics(clinical)
    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Medicine(all)

    Cite this

    Genetic influences on political ideologies : Twin analyses of 19 measures of political ideologies from five democracies and genome-wide findings from three populations. / Hatemi, Peter K.; Medland, Sarah E.; Klemmensen, Robert; Oskarsson, Sven; Littvay, Levente; Dawes, Christopher; Verhulst, Brad; McDermott, Rose; Nørgaard, Asbjørn Sonne; Klofstad, Casey A.; Christensen, Kaare; Johannesson, Magnus; Magnusson, Patrik K E; Eaves, Lindon J.; Martin, Nicholas G.

    In: Behavior Genetics, Vol. 44, No. 3, 2014, p. 282-294.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Hatemi, PK, Medland, SE, Klemmensen, R, Oskarsson, S, Littvay, L, Dawes, C, Verhulst, B, McDermott, R, Nørgaard, AS, Klofstad, CA, Christensen, K, Johannesson, M, Magnusson, PKE, Eaves, LJ & Martin, NG 2014, 'Genetic influences on political ideologies: Twin analyses of 19 measures of political ideologies from five democracies and genome-wide findings from three populations', Behavior Genetics, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 282-294. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-014-9648-8
    Hatemi, Peter K. ; Medland, Sarah E. ; Klemmensen, Robert ; Oskarsson, Sven ; Littvay, Levente ; Dawes, Christopher ; Verhulst, Brad ; McDermott, Rose ; Nørgaard, Asbjørn Sonne ; Klofstad, Casey A. ; Christensen, Kaare ; Johannesson, Magnus ; Magnusson, Patrik K E ; Eaves, Lindon J. ; Martin, Nicholas G. / Genetic influences on political ideologies : Twin analyses of 19 measures of political ideologies from five democracies and genome-wide findings from three populations. In: Behavior Genetics. 2014 ; Vol. 44, No. 3. pp. 282-294.
    @article{1f7847e0668841d384931d71222ce80c,
    title = "Genetic influences on political ideologies: Twin analyses of 19 measures of political ideologies from five democracies and genome-wide findings from three populations",
    abstract = "Almost 40 years ago, evidence from large studies of adult twins and their relatives suggested that between 30 and 60 {\%} of the variance in social and political attitudes could be explained by genetic influences. However, these findings have not been widely accepted or incorporated into the dominant paradigms that explain the etiology of political ideology. This has been attributed in part to measurement and sample limitations, as well the relative absence of molecular genetic studies. Here we present results from original analyses of a combined sample of over 12,000 twins pairs, ascertained from nine different studies conducted in five democracies, sampled over the course of four decades. We provide evidence that genetic factors play a role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the era, or the population sampled. The only exception is a question that explicitly uses the phrase {"}Left-Right{"}. We then present results from one of the first genome-wide association studies on political ideology using data from three samples: a 1990 Australian sample involving 6,894 individuals from 3,516 families; a 2008 Australian sample of 1,160 related individuals from 635 families and a 2010 Swedish sample involving 3,334 individuals from 2,607 families. No polymorphisms reached genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis. The combined evidence suggests that political ideology constitutes a fundamental aspect of one's genetically informed psychological disposition, but as Fisher proposed long ago, genetic influences on complex traits will be composed of thousands of markers of very small effects and it will require extremely large samples to have enough power in order to identify specific polymorphisms related to complex social traits.",
    keywords = "Attitudes, Authoritarianism, GWAS, Ideology, Politics",
    author = "Hatemi, {Peter K.} and Medland, {Sarah E.} and Robert Klemmensen and Sven Oskarsson and Levente Littvay and Christopher Dawes and Brad Verhulst and Rose McDermott and N{\o}rgaard, {Asbj{\o}rn Sonne} and Klofstad, {Casey A.} and Kaare Christensen and Magnus Johannesson and Magnusson, {Patrik K E} and Eaves, {Lindon J.} and Martin, {Nicholas G.}",
    year = "2014",
    doi = "10.1007/s10519-014-9648-8",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "44",
    pages = "282--294",
    journal = "Behavior Genetics",
    issn = "0001-8244",
    publisher = "Springer New York",
    number = "3",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Genetic influences on political ideologies

    T2 - Twin analyses of 19 measures of political ideologies from five democracies and genome-wide findings from three populations

    AU - Hatemi, Peter K.

    AU - Medland, Sarah E.

    AU - Klemmensen, Robert

    AU - Oskarsson, Sven

    AU - Littvay, Levente

    AU - Dawes, Christopher

    AU - Verhulst, Brad

    AU - McDermott, Rose

    AU - Nørgaard, Asbjørn Sonne

    AU - Klofstad, Casey A.

    AU - Christensen, Kaare

    AU - Johannesson, Magnus

    AU - Magnusson, Patrik K E

    AU - Eaves, Lindon J.

    AU - Martin, Nicholas G.

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - Almost 40 years ago, evidence from large studies of adult twins and their relatives suggested that between 30 and 60 % of the variance in social and political attitudes could be explained by genetic influences. However, these findings have not been widely accepted or incorporated into the dominant paradigms that explain the etiology of political ideology. This has been attributed in part to measurement and sample limitations, as well the relative absence of molecular genetic studies. Here we present results from original analyses of a combined sample of over 12,000 twins pairs, ascertained from nine different studies conducted in five democracies, sampled over the course of four decades. We provide evidence that genetic factors play a role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the era, or the population sampled. The only exception is a question that explicitly uses the phrase "Left-Right". We then present results from one of the first genome-wide association studies on political ideology using data from three samples: a 1990 Australian sample involving 6,894 individuals from 3,516 families; a 2008 Australian sample of 1,160 related individuals from 635 families and a 2010 Swedish sample involving 3,334 individuals from 2,607 families. No polymorphisms reached genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis. The combined evidence suggests that political ideology constitutes a fundamental aspect of one's genetically informed psychological disposition, but as Fisher proposed long ago, genetic influences on complex traits will be composed of thousands of markers of very small effects and it will require extremely large samples to have enough power in order to identify specific polymorphisms related to complex social traits.

    AB - Almost 40 years ago, evidence from large studies of adult twins and their relatives suggested that between 30 and 60 % of the variance in social and political attitudes could be explained by genetic influences. However, these findings have not been widely accepted or incorporated into the dominant paradigms that explain the etiology of political ideology. This has been attributed in part to measurement and sample limitations, as well the relative absence of molecular genetic studies. Here we present results from original analyses of a combined sample of over 12,000 twins pairs, ascertained from nine different studies conducted in five democracies, sampled over the course of four decades. We provide evidence that genetic factors play a role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the era, or the population sampled. The only exception is a question that explicitly uses the phrase "Left-Right". We then present results from one of the first genome-wide association studies on political ideology using data from three samples: a 1990 Australian sample involving 6,894 individuals from 3,516 families; a 2008 Australian sample of 1,160 related individuals from 635 families and a 2010 Swedish sample involving 3,334 individuals from 2,607 families. No polymorphisms reached genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis. The combined evidence suggests that political ideology constitutes a fundamental aspect of one's genetically informed psychological disposition, but as Fisher proposed long ago, genetic influences on complex traits will be composed of thousands of markers of very small effects and it will require extremely large samples to have enough power in order to identify specific polymorphisms related to complex social traits.

    KW - Attitudes

    KW - Authoritarianism

    KW - GWAS

    KW - Ideology

    KW - Politics

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84901593035&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84901593035&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1007/s10519-014-9648-8

    DO - 10.1007/s10519-014-9648-8

    M3 - Article

    C2 - 24569950

    AN - SCOPUS:84901593035

    VL - 44

    SP - 282

    EP - 294

    JO - Behavior Genetics

    JF - Behavior Genetics

    SN - 0001-8244

    IS - 3

    ER -