Genetic and Environmental Influences on Media Use and Communication Behaviors

Ashley E. Kirzinger, Christopher Weber, Martin Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A great deal of scholarly work has explored the motivations behind media consumption and other various communication traits. However, little research has investigated the sources of these motivations and virtually no research considers their potential genetic underpinnings. Drawing on the field of behavior genetics, we use a classical twin design study to examine the genetic and environmental influences on nine communication behaviors. Our findings indicate a substantial portion of the total variance in media habits can be attributed to genes, as much as one-third of the variance in some instances. Mass communication scholars would benefit by paying closer attention to heritability when thinking about the causes as well as the consequences of media traits in contemporary society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-171
Number of pages28
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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