The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

A genetic basis for social trust?

Record type: Article

A propensity to believe that fellow citizens will not act against our interests in social and economic transactions has been identified as key to the effective functioning of democratic polities. Yet the causes of this type of ‘generalized’ or ‘social’ trust are far from clear. To date, researchers within the social and political sciences have focused almost exclusively on social-developmental and political/institutional features of individuals and societies as the primary causal influences. In this paper we investigate the intriguing possibility that social trust might have a genetic, as well as an environmental basis. We use data collected from samples of monozygotic and dizygotic twins to estimate the additive genetic, shared environmental, and non-shared environmental components of trust. Our results show that the majority of the variance in a multi-item trust scale is accounted for by an additive genetic factor. On the other hand, the environmental influences experienced in common by sibling pairs have no discernable effect; the only environmental influences appear to be those that are unique to the individual. Our findings problematise the widely held view that the development of social trust occurs through a process of familial socialization at an early stage of the life course.

PDF 2009_A_genetic_basis_for_social_trust.pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (360kB)

Citation

Sturgis, Peter, Read, Sanna, Hatemi, Peter K., Zhu, Gu, Trull, Tim, Wright, Margaret J. and Martin, Nicholas G. (2010) A genetic basis for social trust? Political Behavior, 32, (2), pp. 205-230. (doi:10.1007/s11109-009-9101-5).

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 8 December 2009
Published date: June 2010

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 80167
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/80167
ISSN: 0190-9320
PURE UUID: eb040d7a-6b03-40fe-beac-958ee6e25300

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Mar 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:14

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Peter Sturgis
Author: Sanna Read
Author: Peter K. Hatemi
Author: Gu Zhu
Author: Tim Trull
Author: Margaret J. Wright
Author: Nicholas G. Martin

University divisions


Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×