Is personality inherited? How genes influence us

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Human beings inherit DNA from our parents, half of this DNA being maternal and the other half paternal. This genetic inheritance influences multiple aspects, ranging from daily behaviors, to personality, values, beliefs and psychological traits.

Before the Human Genome Project, it was believed that behavior, personality and intelligence were the result of the expression of a single gene or a very small group of genes. Today, however, we know that behaviors and multiple aspects of the human psyche are the product of a complex interaction between hundreds (even thousands) of genetic variants and their subsequent modeling by the environment and context in which we live.

Is personality inherited?

Currently, the most widely accepted model to describe and explain personality is the Big Five model of Costa and McCrae. According to these authors, there are five major personality traits. There are the extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, agreeableness and responsibility. That interact with each other to give rise to a relatively stable pattern of behavior in each person.

From this perspective of personality, genetics has studied the heritability of these traits with monozygotic and dizygotic twin studies. The results obtained over the years have consistently indicated that personality traits have a strong genetic and biological inheritance. This genetic inheritance, depending on the psychological trait, can range from 10 to 60 percent.

These studies have not only been conducted with personality traits, but with other psychological traits. Such as stress, anxiety, emotional well-being, positive emotions, resilience or empathy. This means, therefore, that if your parents have high levels of empathy, there is a relatively high probability that it is also a prominent trait in you. However, this may not always be the case, as there is a percentage of traits that are strongly influenced by the environment.

In conclusion, we can say that our personality is the result of two things that constantly interact with each other. On the one hand, the DNA inherited from our parents, which implies a biological tendency to develop to a greater or lesser extent a series of characteristics and behaviors; and on the other hand, the molding of these tendencies by the environment in which we have grown up and developed. It is this interaction that shapes our personality and establishes a relatively stable pattern of behavior throughout our lives, thus generating our own identity and differentiating us as unique individuals. The Psychogenomic DNA Test is the perfect tool if you feel that you need to know more about yourself.