• Political socialization;
  • intergenerational value transfer;
  • perception;
  • persuasion;
  • projection

The transfer of political values across generations is commonly understood as a two-step process. First, the child perceives the characteristics of the parent, thereby creating an image of what the parent is like. Second, the child is persuaded to adapt his or her own views to that image. Despite its theoretical dominance, the details of this perceptual pathway of parentalsocialization have rarely been examined empirically. A major Swedish socialization study offers unusually good opportunities to investigate how it actually operates. The results indicate that the perceptual pathway as a whole is of great but not universal significance, that perception is more important than persuasion because of its greater variability, and that the conditions regulating the former are distinct from those regulating the latter. One implication of the results is that studies of interpersonal influence based on a single source (e.g., the child alone) are likely to yield a very lopsided view of the socialization process.