Hypothesis of study: Political attitudes will be heavily heritable
· Hypothesis of study: Party identification will be influenced more by parental socialization than by genetic inheritance but that this pattern will be reversed for political attitudes with inheritance playing a role at least as large as the shared environment.
· Political attitudes have genetic as well as environmental causes.
· Literature on political socialization has long revolved around the question of the effects of early as opposed to late environmental forces.
· Childhood socialization and provided evidence that judgments about more recent conditions and occurrences can dramatically alter preferences we might have held as children and adolescents.
· Findings in modern behavioral genetics reveal the effect of genes to be interactive rather than direct, let alone determinative.
· Genetics makes the mood of some people far more dependent on the extent to which their lives have been beset with difficulties and it likely makes some people's political attitudes far more contextually dependent than others.
· Twins in greater contact with their co-twins are not more likely to share the same attitudes and behaviors.
· The correlation between a parent and a child arises from a combination of shared genes, shared environment, and parental socialization, all of which are pressures toward similarity in parent-child attitudes.
· Studies of adopted children confirm the finding that genetics matter more than parentally created environment in influencing social attitudes and behaviors, personality traits, and intelligence.
· Conclusion (Table 1): Shared influences (genetic and environmental) of political attitudes account for half of the variation in these political reactions with unique individual and environmental factors accounting for remainder.
· Conclusion (Table 2): Support of a powerful role for heredity in influencing conservatism, at least as measured by the Wilson-Patterson inventory.
· Conclusion (Table 2): A very strong role for heredity and a less powerful, but clear role for shared environment. Difference lies in role of shared influences (genetic and environmental), accounting for almost 2/3 of the variation in the index, with unique individual and environmental factors accounting for only about 1/3 the variation.
· Conclusion (Table 2): To the extent that there is a family effect on political opinionation, it is entirely genetic.
· Conclusion (Table 2): Heritability for party affiliation is relatively low while shared environment is much stronger.
· Conclusion: The affect toward the major parties is largely a matter of genetic predisposition but that, just as the political socialization has concluded, party identification itself is primarily the result of parental socialization.
· Conclusion: Predictability dissimilar correlations of social and political attitudes among people with greater and lesser-shared genotypes suggest that forces of which the actors themselves are not consciously aware often shape behaviors.
· Conclusion: We know that, if both parents share a political identification, there is a high degree of likelihood that their offspring will have that same political identification.
· Conclusion: "Fathers do not have more influence over sons, and mothers do not have more influence over daughters; fathers are not generally more influential; the distribution of power within the family is irrelevant to parent-child correlations; the degree to which children and parents feel close to each other does not matter; the frequency with which the family discusses politics does not much affect correspondence between offspring and parent views; and the extent to which politics is important to the parents is also irrelevant."
· Conclusion: We find that political attitudes are influenced much more heavily by genetics than by parental socialization.