Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Character traits determined genetically? Genes may hold the key to a life of success, study suggests

Date:
May 16, 2012
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Genes play a greater role in forming character traits -- such as self-control, decision making or sociability -- than was previously thought, new research suggests.

Identical twin boys. Genes play a greater role in forming character traits -- such as self-control, decision making or sociability -- than was previously thought, new research suggests.
Credit: vgm6 / Fotolia

Genes play a greater role in forming character traits -- such as self-control, decision making or sociability -- than was previously thought, new research suggests.

A study of more than 800 sets of twins found that genetics were more influential in shaping key traits than a person's home environment and surroundings.

Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh who carried out the study, say that genetically influenced characteristics could well be the key to how successful a person is in life.

The study of twins in the US -- most aged 50 and over- used a series of questions to test how they perceived themselves and others. Questions included "Are you influenced by people with strong opinions?" and "Are you disappointed about your achievements in life?"

The results were then measured according to the Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale which assesses and standardizes these characteristics.

By tracking their answers, the research team found that identical twins -- whose DNA is [presumed to be] exactly the same -- were twice as likely to share traits compared with non-identical twins.

Psychologists say the findings are significant because the stronger the genetic link, the more likely it is that these character traits are carried through a family.

Professor Timothy Bates, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said that the genetic influence was strongest on a person's sense of self-control.

Researchers found that genes affected a person's sense of purpose, how well they get on with people and their ability to continue learning and developing.

Professor Bates added: "Ever since the ancient Greeks, people have debated the nature of a good life and the nature of a virtuous life. Why do some people seem to manage their lives, have good relationships and cooperate to achieve their goals while others do not? Previously, the role of family and the environment around the home often dominated people's ideas about what affected psychological well-being. However, this work highlights a much more powerful influence from genetics."

The study, which builds on previous research that found that happiness is underpinned by genes, is published online in the Journal of Personality.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Despina Archontaki, Gary J. Lewis, Timothy C. Bates. Genetic influences on psychological well-being: A nationally representative twin study. Journal of Personality, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00787.x

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Character traits determined genetically? Genes may hold the key to a life of success, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516115903.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2012, May 16). Character traits determined genetically? Genes may hold the key to a life of success, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516115903.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Character traits determined genetically? Genes may hold the key to a life of success, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120516115903.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins