Send to

Choose Destination
Twin Res Hum Genet. 2012 Feb;15(1):34-41. doi: 10.1375/twin.15.1.34.

The genetic basis of political sophistication.

Author information

Department of Political Science, Temple University, PA, USA.


Political sophistication is a concept that encompasses political reasoning, the coherence of people's issue attitudes, and their knowledge of political processes. To what extent is political sophistication affected by genes and environments? Do these distinct but related measures of sophistication share a common genetic structure? We analyze survey data collected from participants in the Minnesota Twin Registry to estimate influences of genes and environments on variables used to measure political sophistication. Additive genetic factors explain 48-76% of the variation in educational attainment, political interest, and political knowledge, while dominance genetics influence 28% of the variance of ideological consistency. Multivariate analyses show that, although these measures share common genetic and unique environmental factors to a modest extent, much of the variance is explained by specific genetic and unique environmental factors. Ideological consistency appears to be mostly distinct from the other measures, as it is strongly accounted for by unique environmental influences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Cambridge University Press
Loading ...
Support Center