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


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.


Personality Trait Heritability Estimate Twin Study Environment Correlation Twin Correlation 
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The authors received support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft KA 4088/2-1.


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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