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There is an error in the third sentence of the fourth paragraph in “The Nature of Personality Traits and Political Attitudes” section of the Introduction. The correct sentence is: For the FFM and Eysenck’s personality traits, correlations between Openness and social attitudes, Neuroticism and economic attitudes, Conscientiousness and social attitudes, the P-Scale and military/defense attitudes, and Social Desirability and social attitudes are the most consistently found.

There is an error in the eighth sentence of the first paragraph in the Measures section of the Materials and Methods. The correct sentence is: Attitude factors were coded so that higher values reflect more liberal attitude positions.

Date of Submission

November 2015


The primary assumption within the recent personality and political orientations literature is that personality traits cause people to develop political attitudes. In contrast, research relying on traditional psychological and developmental theories suggests the relationship between most personality dimensions and political orientations are either not significant or weak. Research from behavioral genetics suggests the covariance between personality and political preferences is not causal, but due to a common, latent genetic factor that mutually influences both. The contradictory assumptions and findings from these research streams have yet to be resolved. This is in part due to the reliance on cross-sectional data and the lack of longitudinal genetically informative data. Here, using two independent longitudinal genetically informative samples, we examine the joint development of personality traits and attitude dimensions to explore the underlying causal mechanisms that drive the relationship between these features and provide a first step in resolving the causal question. We find change in personality over a ten-year period does not predict change in political attitudes, which does not support a causal relationship between personality traits and political attitudes as is frequently assumed. Rather, political attitudes are often more stable than the key personality traits assumed to be predicting them. Finally, the results from our genetic models find that no additional variance is accounted for by the causal pathway from personality traits to political attitudes. Our findings remain consistent with the original construction of the five-factor model of personality and developmental theories on attitude formation, but challenge recent work in this area.


© 2015 Hatemi, Verhulst. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Is Part Of

VCU Psychiatry Publications

S1_File.docx (17 kB)
Items Used to Define Openness.

S2_File.docx (14 kB)
Examples of Political values Included in Measures of Personality.

S3_File.docx (19 kB)
Cross-Lagged Correlation Analysis: Correlations between the latent traits for the Adult Cohort.

S4_File.docx (14 kB)
Cross-Lagged Differential for the Adult Cohort.

S5_File.docx (17 kB)
Correlations between the latent traits for the Adolescent Cohort.

journal.pone.0134072.pdf (109 kB)