New evidence on the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement

Aaron C. Weinschenk, Christopher T. Dawes, Christian Kandler, Edward Bell, Rainer Riemann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We investigate the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement using a new data set containing information on a large sample of young German twins. The TwinLife Study enables us to examine the predominant model of personality, the Big Five framework, as well as traits that fall outside the Big Five, such as cognitive ability, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the underpinnings of political engagement. Our results support previous work showing genetic overlap between some psychological traits and political engagement. More specifically, we find that cognitive ability and openness to experience are correlated with political engagement and that common genes can explain most of the relationship between these psychological traits and political engagement. Relationships between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement exist even at a fairly young age, which is an important finding given that previous work has relied heavily on older samples to study the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
    Volume38
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

    Keywords

    • Political engagement
    • cognitive ability
    • heritability
    • personality
    • twins

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Public Administration

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