Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 614 (2007), pp. 196– 212; doi 10.1177/0002716207305621 Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Political and Social Science; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission. http://ann. sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/ 614/1/196


Are political liberals generous? Are political conservatives conscientious? Are generous people personally agreeable? Research in behavioral genetics and elsewhere increasingly indicates a biological basis for the manner in which people behave in personal, interpersonal, and political situations, but this biological basis does not mean behavior in these three very different contexts is correlated. In this article, using an original data set obtained from nearly three hundred subjects, the authors are able to test for the degree to which personal, interpersonal, and political temperaments are related. As expected, the overall correlations are quite low. Standard personality traits do not predict political attitudes, and neither political attitudes nor personality predicts the extent to which subjects are generous in interpersonal situations. Human behavior is partially biological, but the systems involved in shaping political behavior seem to be largely but not completely distinct from those involved in shaping personal and interpersonal behavior.