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Twin Res Hum Genet. 2012 Feb;15(1):52-9. doi: 10.1375/twin.15.1.52.

The heritability of foreign policy preferences.

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Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3265, USA.


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.

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