Can you raise your kid as a conservative or liberal?

Here is a new study (caveat emptor all the way):

This new study, by a team led by psychologist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, begins with new mothers describing their intentions and approach in 1991, and ends with a survey of their children 18 years later. In between, it features an assessment of the child’s temperament at age 4.

…“Parents who endorsed more authoritarian parenting attitudes when their children were one month old were more likely to have children who were conservative in their ideologies at age 18,” the researchers report. “Parents who endorsed more egalitarian parenting attitudes were more likely to have children who were liberal.”

Obviously genes are an alternative channel of influence.  And this is a stunner:

Also, the Illinois researchers did not gauge the parents’ political beliefs.

So I don’t believe the interpretations at all.  Still, it is interesting to see the extent of attitudinal persistence, and furthermore “…our results also showed that early childhood temperament predicted variation in conservative versus liberal ideologies.”  I suspect, however, that politics would turn out to be less susceptible to parental shaping than, say, religion or general temperamental approach to religion.

I consider this study radically incomplete, but still it is interesting to see the question tackled with a twenty-year time window and some ex ante planning.

For the pointer I thank


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