My Genes Made Me Vote for OBama!



While the title is meant to be humorous, the question of genetic components of voting behavior is interesting, and it has been studied. Nancy Siegal in her Psychology Today Blog, discussed some of the most recent research by James Fowler, conducted in Twinsburg, Ohio.

Dr. Fowler’s initial studies have detected, across 8 elections, a tendency for biological twins to vote more similarly than fraternal twins. In genetic research, such a result is generally interpretted as supporting evidence for a possible genetic link. In his most recent study, Fowler found that while there was not so much a noteworthy relationship with political party choice, there seemed to be a relationship to the degree of partisanship the twins expressed.

This line of research presents some interesting opportunities for future research. As I noted in a comment elsewhere, I suspect that there may be a genetic component to some personality dimensions that have been identified. For example a 5 item socio-political dimension (SPIE) of Rotter’s Locus of Control scale, has been found to predict basic involvement and awareness such as being able to name your congressman.  More recent research looking at the differences in attributions made by Democrats and Republicans may have resurrected that discussion. Also of interest is research by John Alford  at Rice that noted differences in brain reactions to positive and negative stimuli.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I would question these results because it seems that twin studies comparing monozygotic and dizygotic twins might not accurately filter environmental influences. We know that monozygotic twins tend to have closer relationships with each other, and this increased social interaction may lead them to hold certain opinions out of loyalty to one another. I would like to see this study done on monozygotic and dizygotic twins raised in separate environments.

  2. Good point Kyle, I agree.

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