Using genetic information to test causal relationships in cross-sectional data. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cross-sectional data from twins contain information that can be used to derive a test of causality between traits. This test of directionality is based upon the fact that genetic relationships between family members conform to an established structural pattern. In this paper we examine several common methods for empirically testing causality as well as several genetic models that we build on for the Direction of Causation (DoC) model. We then discuss the mathematical components of the DoC model and highlight limitations of the model and potential solutions to these limitations. We conclude by presenting an example from the personality and politics literature that has begun to explore the question whether or not personality traits cause people to hold specific political attitudes.

published proceedings

  • J Theor Polit

altmetric score

  • 12.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Verhulst, B., & Estabrook, R.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Verhulst, Brad||Estabrook, Ryne

publication date

  • July 2012