A new paradigm has emerged in which both genetic and environmental factors are cited as possible influences on sociopolitical attitudes. Despite the increasing acceptance of this paradigm, several aspects of the approach remain underdeveloped. Specifically, limitations arise from a reliance on a twins-only design, and all previous studies have used self-reports only. There are also questions about the extent to which existing findings generalize cross-culturally. To address those issues, this study examined individual differences in liberalism/conservatism in a German sample that included twins, their parents, and their spouses and incorporated both self- and peer reports. The self-report findings from this extended twin family design were largely consistent with previous research that used that rater perspective, but they provided higher estimates of heritability, shared parental environmental influences, assortative mating, and genotype-environment correlation than the results from peer reports. The implications of these findings for the measurement and understanding of sociopolitical attitudes are explored.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2