The heritability of foreign policy preferences

Skyler J. Cranmer, Christopher T. Dawes

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Attitudes towards foreign policy have typically been explained by ideological and demographic factors. We approach this study from a different perspective and ex amine the extent to which foreign policy preferences correspond to genetic variation. Using data from the Minnesota Twin Family Study, we show that a moderate share of individual differences in the degree to which one's foreign policy preferences are hawkish or dovish can be attributed to genetic variation. We also show, based on a bivariate twin model, that foreign policy preferences share a common genetic source of variation with political ideology. This result presents the possibility that ideology may be the causal pathway through which genes affect foreign policy preferences.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)52-59
    Number of pages8
    JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 2012


    • ACE
    • Cholesky
    • bivariate
    • foreign policy preferences

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Genetics(clinical)


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