The nature of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes

Brad Verhulst, Peter K. Hatemi, Nicholas G. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Building upon a series of works by Thomas J. Bouchard, Lindon J. Eaves, Hans J. Eysenck and other contemporaries, we present strong evidence that the assumed causal relationship between personality and left-right ideology is too simplistic. We suggest the relationship is not predictive and instead is better understood by dividing the overarching left-right ideological spectrum into more meaningful attitude dimensions. In doing so, we find that Psychoticism is strongly related to conservative positions on Punishment, Religious, and Sex attitudes, whereas Social Desirability is related to liberal positions on the same attitudes. Furthermore, the nature of the covariance between Psychoticism and social attitudes is due to a common genetic influence, while covariance between Social Desirability and these attitudes in females is largely a function of common shared environmental covariance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-316
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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