Commonly Asked Questions | Understanding Genetics
A dominant trait can overpower and hide another (the "recessive" trait). Why can't genetic tests predict certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes? . Click here to order our latest book, A Handy Guide to Ancestry and Relationship DNA Tests. Note: Select an answer for each question, then click the “Evaluate Quiz” button at develop new physical and behavioral characteristics, your ______ never changes. Unfavorable mutations have a more significant effect on genes than do. And based on four different twin studies, researchers believe certain traits are Conscientiousness has 49% genetic influence Take the Personality Quiz.
Is Personality Genetic? | Science of People
In some cases, both parents have blue eyes but still have a brown-eyed baby, which shouldn't happen if the trait followed the simple dominant-recessive rule. Take hair color, for example. If a father carries only a dominant gene for brown hair and the mother carries only a recessive gene for blond, their children should all have brown hair, but some of their grandchildren are likely to be blond.
The kids inherit both sets of genes, which can combine with blond genes from their mates to produce fair-haired offspring.
But don't blame the mailman if your child's hair is surprisingly red -- the interplay of genes can create all sorts of unexpected traits.
And if your son eventually loses his hair, he can point a finger at either parent: Contrary to popular belief, the dominant gene for male-pattern baldness can be passed down by moms or dads. Joseph Chisolm, of Secaucus, New Jersey, certainly knows how arbitrary inheritance can be. He's black and his wife, Donelle, is white, so they weren't surprised that their first child, 4-year-old Jaydon, was dark-skinned and brown-eyed.
But their 1-year-old son, Jordon, is startlingly different: One study found that families tend to have similar facial expressions when they're happy, sad, angry, disgusted, surprised, or thinking hard. And kids don't just pick up these reactions from watching us: Blind members of 21 families in the study also grimaced, smiled, and scowled like their relatives 80 percent of the time. Other likenesses are quirkier.
Both Kim Whorton, of Birmingham, Alabama, and her daughter Zoe, the oldest of 3-year-old triplets, have dimples in their shoulder blades -- a rare trait that's been traced to an abnormality on a specific chromosome. In some cases, one genetic trait may be linked to others. Check the hair whorl at the top of your child's head: If it swirls counterclockwise, he has a chance of being left-handed or ambidextrous, which suggests that both hair pattern and handedness are driven by some of the same genes.
Personality Plus Scientists have little doubt that genes can affect a child's behavior, but exactly how nature and nurture work together is still somewhat of a mystery. One recent study concluded that almost all psychological traits are at least somewhat genetic.
Commonly Asked Questions
Research has also shown that twins often have similar personalities even when they have been raised apart. The resemblances can be uncanny.What Your Hands Say About Your Personality
Amber Carlsen, of Salt Lake City, says her 2-year-old daughter, Haylee, is a deja vu version of herself as a child -- bossy, independent, and fastidious. Carey, "but genetics can certainly shape preferences for things like color, which could lead a child to make choices that are similar to a parent's. One recent study found that kids who have a taste gene that's associated with a sensitivity to bitterness are less likely to pick milk or water as their favorite drink and more likely to love sugary soft drinks and cereals.
The Environment However, there's almost always a connection between genetics and environment. Musical talent is a classic example. People who have perfect pitch are four times more likely than those with only average singing voices to say that a relative has this natural gift. Yet research has also found that most people with perfect pitch started taking music lessons before age 6, and that only 3 percent of people who started voice lessons after age 9 have perfect pitch -- suggesting that both genetics and training affect one's singing voice.
We have a free quiz you can take to find out where you rank on each: They have even found that there are physiological differences tied to each of the personality types.
Is Personality Genetic?
We are only beginning to understand the complex ties between our brain, body and personality, but here are a few findings that hint at how our chemistry effects our behavior: People high in extraversion have been found to carry long forms of the gene DRD4. This gene dictates how we produce dopamine.
Those who carry the long form of the gene DRD4 have more dopamine production when they have a positive experience. In other words, high extroverts might be wired to seek more social experiences because they get a bigger chemical pleasure boost. People high in conscientiousness have been found to have more volume in the middle frontal gyrus in the left lateral pre-frontal cortex part of the brain.
This is where we plan for the future and make decisions. In other words, people high in conscientiousness might enjoy planning and preparing more because they have more activity in that part of their brain. People high in agreeableness have been found to have less volume in the orbitofrontal lobe of their brain—this is where we process emotions and make decisions. In other words, perhaps they are good at working in teams because they excel at understanding and forecasting behavioral and emotional states.
This gene helps us produce serotonin, which calms us down. High neurotics produce serotonin more slowly, so they have a harder time regulating their emotions after a negative event. They also feel their emotions more strongly and for a longer period. In other words, neurotics worry more because it physiologically takes them longer to recover from something bad happening to them.