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Do Genetic Personality Traits Exist?

Genetic links have been identified regarding alcoholism.
Behavioral genetics examines how personality traits might be passed on from parent to child.
Studies show that twins may develop into remarkably similar people despite being separated at birth.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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The short answer to this question is yes, but the long answer is much more complicated. There is, in fact, an entire field dedicated to the study of genetic personality traits and behavior; this field is known as behavioral genetics. Scientists in this field combine a study of genetics, psychology, and ethnology to study behavior trends in various populations of humans and animals. As the mysteries of the human genome are unraveled, this field of study is rapidly expanding.

When looking at genetic influences on personality, it is important to remember that genes alone are not responsible. In the first place, genetic personality traits are polygenic, which means that they involve multiple genes, not a single gene. Therefore, study of these traits is extremely complex, since scientists still do not fully understand how these genes interact with each other, let alone how they interact with other genes. In addition, environmental influences can have a major impact on personality, although these influences may interplay with someone's genes.

People who study genetic personality traits look at large populations in an attempt to identify shared characteristics. This is where ethnography is important, as scientists want to be sure that they are getting an accurate sample, to ensure that their work is valid. Some studies have also been extremely involved, lasting for many years in an attempt to look at multiple generations and environments. Study of animals has revealed numerous personality traits which are clearly genetic, as they may be species-specific adaptations to unique environments.

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In humans, a number of genetic personality traits have been identified. Scientists have observed that things like mental illness and alcoholism appear to have genetic links, with many families exhibiting statistically unusual incidences of these conditions. Personality traits that are passed down may also be more subtle; some families, for example, seem to pass down a general trend of anti-social behavior, although it may be difficult to pin down specific behavioral tics and trends.

It is difficult to study genetic personality traits ethically, since so many factors can come together to influence someone's development. Scientists need to rely on observational study as manipulation of the human environment is generally considered unethical. Twin studies have proved particularly interesting for psychologists who study these types of personality traits, since twins may develop into remarkably similar people despite being separated at birth. Two twins who have never met, for example, might both decide to become firefighters, suggesting a clear genetic link between their personalities.

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anon327816
Post 10

I know of a woman (Gayle) who is now in her 60s, who at birth in a hospital was given to another family. She has a very outgoing, 'come as you will' kind, and very giving personality, like the personality of her birth parents (she is a nurse), and has retained the personality of her birth parents, despite the fact that she was raised by a family that are mean spirited and closed. The other baby (Janice) from the mean spirited and closed family went to Gayle's birth parents, and was raised by Gayle's outgoing, 'come as you will', kind and caring parents retained the personality of her birth parents and leads a miserable, closed, anti-social type of life.

Both families had three or four other siblings with the same parental personality traits as their natural parents, but the two who were switched retained the personality of their birth parents, despite the huge differences in personalities.

anon296059
Post 8

I believe that genes can totally influence our personalities. I've just reunited with my father after 30 years of not seeing him that much, and it's amazing how similar our personalities are. He did raise me till I was around four, but I still feel it's genes at work here. My brother's the same way.

anon269638
Post 7

Maybe I agree with Evan, that environment can affect you. I saw that many times, and by the way, The short answer to this question is yes.

Really? Aren't people confusing the genetics with influence of the things? Think again.

anon264820
Post 6

I believe personality traits are a formula. 25 percent is passed down from the parents, 25 percent from the environment and 50 percent god's gift (zodiac personality traits plus random).

anon170604
Post 5

I work with parents and children from birth until three years old. Parents and society are constantly looking for similarities between parents and their children. Children are extremely prone to become what people consistently say they are when they are young. This makes it almost impossible to know for sure what was in their genes and what they were socialized to become.

ptolemy
Post 4

Fortunately for all of us, behavioural geneticists will never be able to manipulate our alleged psychological genes because they don't exist.

Just imagine what the corporations, the biggest funders of research in this area, would do if they could?

We would have personalities suitable for their production methods and mass control.

The purpose of our individual existences would cease to exist, higher consciousness would bring this species to an end as it would be incapable of evolution. Attempts to manipulate planetary positions would also bring disaster on our solar system. thankfully, behavioural genetics is fantasy.

ptolemy
Post 3

The multitudes of dna hydrogen cores 'penetrate/are within' the solar systems hydrogen core's solar radiation zone, predominantly at the meeting point on a planet's surface where the majority of life exists.

The solar system's long body is within a galaxy's radiation, predominantly emanating from the concentration of new stars at its centre, etc., etc.

All levels are within each other. All levels are interconnected via hydrogen /spirit cores.

Dna does not exist in isolation. It has higher directives.

ptolemy
Post 2

The greater environment determines personality traits. Genetic coding determines physical characteristics, i.e., the overlap of physical traits into psychological traits is in illnesses that are physical which have psychological conditions as a consequence.

Consider this concept: the dna double helix has a central spine that consists of a chain of hydrogen atoms surrounded by four modifiers: a,t,g and c. It is said that if a typical code was stretched out it would be enormously long.

Astrologers typically analyse moments in time in an astrological chart, but in reality these are sections from an enormously long sun path(hydrogen core) surrounded by nine or 10 main modifiers: moon, mercury, venus, mars, jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune, pluto and the moons' nodes.

The planets have elliptical orbits that have max/min orbital extremes that gradually over time precess, and in the process, fall in a very regular pattern over long periods of time, gradually twisting around the sun's path.

When an astronomer sees the light of a star, it is acknowledged that what he is seeing now happened a long time ago. Each star's light that is seen in the sky at the same moment is arriving from different times. is it correct to see the solar system as a disc or as 'the long body'?

Evan Braunschweiger
Post 1

How much of our personality is decided by genetics and how much by our environments? We have a basic inherited genetic template of our personality which is modified by our environments. There is still a lot we don't know about the human genome.

Many people have similar environmental experiences. However, the genetic templates of their personalities are all slightly different. Therefore, we could never truly put ourselves in someone else's mind. If we were not only in their situation, but also were them exactly, we don't know for certain that we wouldn't act that way.

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