The genetic underpinnings of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation explain political attitudes beyond Big Five personality

Thomas Haarklau Kleppesto, Nikolai Olavi Czajkowski, Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, Olav Vassend, Espen Roysamb, Nikolai Haahjem Eftedal, Jonas R. Kunst, Eivind Ystrom, Lotte Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Political attitudes are predicted by the key ideological variables of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO), as well as some of the Big Five personality traits. Past research indicates that personality and ideological traits are correlated for genetic reasons. A question that has yet to be tested concerns whether the genetic variation underlying the ideological traits of RWA and SDO has distinct contributions to political attitudes, or if genetic variation in political attitudes is subsumed under the genetic variation underlying standard Big Five personality traits. Method: We use data from a sample of 1987 Norwegian twins to assess the genetic and environmental relationships between the Big Five personality traits, RWA, SDO, and their separate contributions to political policy attitudes. Results: RWA and SDO exhibit very high genetic correlation (r = 0.78) with each other and some genetic overlap with the personality traits of openness and agreeableness. Importantly, they share a larger genetic substrate with political attitudes (e.g., deporting an ethnic minority) than do Big Five personality traits, a relationship that persists even when controlling for the genetic foundations underlying personality traits. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the genetic foundations of ideological traits and political attitudes are largely non-overlapping with the genetic foundations of Big Five personality traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Personality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • authoritarianism
  • behavior genetics
  • Big Five
  • evolution
  • personality
  • political attitudes
  • social dominance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The genetic underpinnings of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation explain political attitudes beyond Big Five personality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this