Accepted July 2, 2015 The authors regret that the coding of the attitude items in the manuscript “The nature of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes” was exactly reversed. The codebook that we were working from for the original paper was opposite of the actual coding of the raw variables. As this paper was the first paper in a series of papers (Verhulst, Eaves & Hatemi, 2012; Verhulst & Estabrook, 2012; Hatemi & Verhulst, 2015), the coding error was present in each subsequent paper. As this paper was the first paper in a series of papers (Verhulst, Eaves & Hatemi, 2012; Verhulst & Estabrook, 2012; Hatemi & Verhulst, 2015), the coding error was present in each subsequent paper regarding the relationships between Eysenck's personality traits and attitudes only. This reversal affects the interpretation of the within-person or phenotypic correlations such that when we stated that a personality trait was higher in one ideological group it is actually the reverse. The interpretation of these relationships is presented in Section 2.3: Phenotypic correlations between personality traits and ideological dimensions, and recapitulated in the discussion section. Readers should note that in the places where we interpreted the relationship between one of the personality variables and conservatism, we should have said liberalism and vice versa. The primary personality trait that was discussed in the paper was Hans Eysenck's Psychoticism (P). Several of the items – such as “Would you like other people to be afraid of you?”, “Do you enjoy co-operating with others?” (Reverse Coded), and “Do you try not to be rude to people” (Reverse Coded) – suggested a theoretical association with Authoritarianism, which is typically correlated with political conservatism. As such, the correlation did not appear to be theoretically inconsistent with the existing literature to us or to the reviewers for any of the papers that were published on this topic. We interpreted the data in accordance with the codebook we believed was correct at the time. Importantly, the main focus of the paper was agnostic about the direction of the phenotypic correlations. More specifically, the direction of the relationship between the personality traits was irrelevant for our research question and subsequent analyses, which rely on magnitude of the cross-twin cross-trait covariance. As such, the direction of the association has no implications for the primary conclusions we drew. Specifically, the goal of this paper was to decompose the covariation of the personality traits and the political attitude dimensions into additive genetic (A), shared environmental (C) and unique environmental (E) sources of covariance. This is very similar to decomposing the variance of a single phenotype into these three sources of variance. Like traditional genetic variance decomposition methods, the sign of the covariance (i.e. whether conservatives or liberals are correlated with higher levels of P), is irrelevant for the interpretation of the proportion of the covariance that can be attributed to A, C or E. As such, the main conclusions of the paper are unaffected. Specifically, we conclude: The finding that the majority of covariation between Psychoticism and attitudes is due to genetic variance provides strong evidence that a simple environmentally driven causal theory from personality to politics is not suitable for such a complex relationship (pg. 313). This is the finding that is most often referenced when this paper is cited. Importantly, this conclusion does not depend on the direction of the association between the personality trait and any of the social attitude measures, but instead on the magnitude of the correlation. Accordingly, the conclusion that the primary source of the covariance between P and social attitudes is primarily a function of additive genetic covariance, while the covariance between social desirability and social attitudes is primarily a function of shared environmental covariance. As we initially concluded, this implies that pleiotropic genetic effects or an unmeasured third social variable drive the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes. We would like to thank the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology for bringing the possibility of a coding error to our attention, which led us to finding the codebook error. The authors apologise for any inconvenience caused. Work Cited: Verhulst, B., Hatemi, P.K. & Martin, N.G. (2010) The nature of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes. Personality and Individual Differences, 49: 306–316. Hatemi, P.K. & Verhulst, Brad. (2015) Political attitudes develop independently of personality traits. PloS One 10(3): e0118106. Verhulst, B., Hatemi, P.K. & Eaves, L.J. (2012) “Covariation not causation: The relationship between personality traits and political ideologies.” The American Journal of Political Science 56(1): 34–51. Verhulst, B. & Estabrook, R. (2012) “Using genetic information to test causal relationships in cross-sectional data.” The Journal of Theoretical Politics, 24(3): 328–344.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Psychology