Saturday, November 11, 2017

The origins of social conservatism: an extended twin family study using self- and peer-reports

The origins of social conservatism: an extended twin family study using self- and peer-reports. Edward Bell et al. Behavior Genetics Association 47th Annual Meeting Abstracts (2017).

Abstract: It has long been recognized that social conservatism forms an important part of people’s political orientations. This study examines key genetic and environmental sources of individual differences in this trait, using data taken from a German sample that included twins, their parents, and their spouses, and which incorporated both self- and peer-reports. The extended twin family design we used allowed for the examination of various aspects of social conservatism, such as: the effects of assortative mating and passive genotype-environment correlation; shared environmental influences originating from mothers only, fathers only, and both together; and non-parental environmental effects shared by twins. A comparison of self-report with peer-report findings indicated that although sex and age differences in social conservatism were comparable across the two rater perspectives, model analyses based on self-reports yielded substantially higher estimates of heritability, as well as higher levels of shared parental environmental influences, assortative mating, and genotype-environment correlation. These results, in particular the higher levels of heritability derived from self-report data, have important implications for how we understand social conservatism.

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