Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Genetic Basis of Traits

  • Christian Kandler
  • Julia Richter
  • Alexandra Zapko-Willmes
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1473-1

Abstract

It is no longer controversial that genetic differences account for individual differences in all human traits, such as personality traits: About 40–50% of variations are attributable to genetic sources. Heritability estimates are even larger for more accurate measures of personality characteristics. The combined consideration of molecular genetic study results and findings from different genetically informative family studies yields that the genetic basis of personality traits reflects many gene variants of small effects, which interact in complex ways among each other and with environmental factors. Moreover, individual differences in the genetic makeup drive individual differences in experiences and thus influence the course of individual trait development within the opportunities provided by the environment.

Keywords

Personality Trait Heritability Estimate Twin Study Environment Correlation Twin Correlation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

Acknowledgment

The authors received support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft KA 4088/2-1.

References

  1. Briley, D. A., & Tucker-Drob, E. M. (2014). Genetic and environmental continuity in personality development: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 140, 1303–1331. doi: 10.1037/a0037091.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Dar-Nimrod, I., & Heine, S. J. (2011). Some thoughts on essence placeholders, interactionism, and heritability: Reply to Haslam (2011) and Turkheimer (2011). Psychological Bulletin, 137, 829–833.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. De Moor, M. H. M., Costa, P. T., Terracciano, A., Krueger, R. F., de Geus, E. J. C., … Boomsma, D. I. (2012). Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for personality. Molecular Psychiatry, 17, 337–349. doi: 10.1038/mp.2010.128.
  4. DeYoung, C. G. (2006). Higher-order factors of the big five in a multi-informant sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 1138–1151. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.6.1138.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hahn, E., Spinath, F. M., Siedler, T., Wagner, G. G., Schupp, J., & Kandler, C. (2012). The complexity of personality: Advantages of a genetically sensitive multi-group design. Behavior Genetics, 42, 221–233. doi: 10.1007/s10519-011-9493-y.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. John, O. P., Naumann, L. P., & Soto, C. J. (2008). Paradigm shift to the integrative big five trait taxonomy. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (3rd ed., pp. 114–158). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  7. Johnson, A. M., Vernon, P. A., & Feiler, A. R. (2008). Behavioral genetic studies of personality: An introduction and review of the results of 50+ years of research. In G. J. Boyle, G. Matthews, & D. H. Saklofske (Eds.), The sage handbook of personality theory and assessment (Personality theories and models, Vol. 1, pp. 145–173). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kandler, C. (2012a). Knowing your personality is knowing its nature: The role of information accuracy of peer assessments for heritability estimates of temperamental and personality traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 53, 387–392. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.01.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kandler, C. (2012b). Nature and nurture in personality development: The case of neuroticism and extraversion. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 290–296. doi: 10.1177/0963721412452557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kandler, C., & Bleidorn, W. (2015). Personality differences and development: Genetic and environmental contributions. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (Vol. 17, 2nd ed., pp. 884–890). Oxford: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kandler, C., & Ostendorf, F. (2016). Additive and synergetic contributions of neuroticism and life events to depression and anxiety in women. European Journal of Personality, 30, 390–405. doi: 10.1002/per.2065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kandler, C., & Papendick, M. (2017). Behavior genetics and personality development: A methodological and meta-analytic review. In: J. Specht (ed.), Personality Development across the Lifespan (pp. 473–495). Elsevier Academic Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-804674-6.00029-6.Google Scholar
  13. Kandler, C., Riemann, R., & Kämpfe, N. (2009). Genetic and environmental mediation between measures of personality and family environment in twins reared together. Behavior Genetics, 39, 24–35. doi: 10.1007/s10519-008-9238-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kandler, C., Riemann, R., Spinath, F. M., & Angleitner, A. (2010). Sources of variance in personality facets: A multiple-rater twin study of self–peer, peer–peer, and self–self (dis-) agreement. Journal of Personality, 78, 1565–1594. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00661.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kandler, C., Riemann, R., Spinath, F. M., Bleidorn, W., Thiel, W., & Angleitner, A. (2013). The Bielefeld longitudinal study of adult twins (BiLSAT). Twin Research and Human Genetics, 16, 167–172. doi: 10.1017/thg.2012.67.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Kandler, C., Zimmermann, J., & McAdams, D. P. (2014). Core and surface characteristics for the description and theory of personality differences and development. European Journal of Personality, 28, 231–243. doi: 10.1002/per.1952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Keller, M. C., Medland, S. E., & Duncan, L. E. (2010). Are extended twin family designs worth the trouble? A comparison of the bias, precision, and accuracy of parameters estimated in four twin family models. Behavior Genetics, 40, 377–393. doi: 10.1007/s10519-009-9320-x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Krueger, R. F., South, S., Johnson, W., & Iacono, W. (2008). The heritability of personality is not always 50%: Gene–environment interactions and correlations between personality and parenting. Journal of Personality, 76, 1485–1521. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00529.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Lo, M.-T., Hinds, D. A., Tung, J. Y., Franz, C., Fan, C.-C., Wang, Y., … Chen, C.-H. (2017). Genome-wide analyses for personality traits identify six genomic loci and show correlations with psychiatric disorders. Nature Genetics, 49, 152–156.Google Scholar
  20. Loehlin, J. C., McCrae, R. R., Costa, P. T., & John, O. P. (1998). Heritabilities of common and measure-specific components of the big five personality factors. Journal of Research in Personality, 32, 431–453. doi: 10.1006/jrpe.1998.2225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McAdams, D. P. (2015). The art and science of personality development. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  22. McCrae, R. R. (2009). The physics and chemistry of personality. Theory and Psychology, 19, 670–687. doi: 10.1177/0959354309341928.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mõttus, R., Kandler, C., Bleidorn, W., Riemann, R., & McCrae, R. R. (2016). Personality traits below facets: The consensual validity, longitudinal stability, heritability, and utility of personality nuances. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000100.
  24. Polderman, T. J. C., Benyamin, B., de Leeuw, C. A., Sullivan, P. F., van Bochoven, A., … Posthuma, D. (2015). Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies. Nature Genetics, 47, 702–709. doi: 10.1038/ng.3285.
  25. Riemann, R., & Kandler, C. (2010). Construct validation using multitrait-multimethod-twin data: The case of a general factor of personality. European Journal of Personality, 24, 258–277. doi: 10.1002/per.760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Scarr, S., & McCartney, K. (1983). How people make their own environments: A theory of genotype → environment effects. Child Development, 54, 424–435.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Specht, J., Bleidorn, W., Denissen, J., Hennecke, M., Huttman, R., Kandler, C., … Zimmermann, J. (2014). What drives adult personality development? A comparison of theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence. European Journal of Personality, 28, 216–230. doi: 10.1002/per.1966.
  28. Stößel, K., Kämpfe, N., & Riemann, R. (2006). The Jena twin registry and the Jena twin study of social attitudes (JeTSSA). Twin Research and Human Genetics, 9, 783–786. doi: 10.1375/183242706779462615.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Turkheimer, E., Pettersen, E., & Horn, E. E. (2014). A phenotypic null hypothesis for the genetics of personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 12.1–12.26. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vukasović, T., & Bratko, D. (2015). Heritability of personality: A meta-analysis of behavior genetic studies. Psychological Bulletin, 141, 769–785. doi: 10.1037/bul0000017.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Kandler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julia Richter
    • 1
  • Alexandra Zapko-Willmes
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Sports ScienceBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMedical School BerlinBerlinGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Ilan Dar-Nimrod
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia