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The Genetic and Environmental Roots of Variance in Negativity toward Foreign Nationals

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JournalBehavior genetics
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Dec 2014
DatePublished (current) - Mar 2015
Issue number3
Volume96
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)181-199
Early online date24/12/14
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This study quantified genetic and environmental roots of variance in prejudice and discriminatory intent toward foreign nationals and examined potential mediators of these genetic influences: right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), social dominance orientation (SDO), and narrow-sense xenophobia (NSX). In line with the dual process motivational (DPM) model, we predicted that the two basic attitudinal and motivational orientations-RWA and SDO-would account for variance in out-group prejudice and discrimination. In line with other theories, we expected that NSX as an affective component would explain additional variance in out-group prejudice and discriminatory intent. Data from 1,397 individuals (incl. twins as well as their spouses) were analyzed. Univariate analyses of twins' and spouses' data yielded genetic (incl. contributions of assortative mating) and multiple environmental sources (i.e., social homogamy, spouse-specific, and individual-specific effects) of variance in negativity toward strangers. Multivariate analyses suggested an extension to the DPM model by including NSX in addition to RWA and SDO as predictor of prejudice and discrimination. RWA and NSX primarily mediated the genetic influences on the variance in prejudice and discriminatory intent toward foreign nationals. In sum, the findings provide the basis of a behavioral genetic framework integrating different scientific disciplines for the study of negativity toward out-groups.

    Research areas

  • Discrimination, Environmental, Genetic, Prejudice, RWA, SDO, Xenophobia

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