Genetics of human personality

Annika Wiebe, Michelle Luciano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Personality traits are stable character dispositions that are influenced by both genes and the environment. The most common genetic investigations have been of a five‐factor personality taxonomy that includes the traits of openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Twin and family studies confirm that around half of the variance in these traits is due to genes, with evidence of additive and nonadditive genetic influences. The remaining variance is due to unique environmental experiences, that is, they are unshared by family members. Molecular genetic studies have not found any genes of large effect influencing human personality, but progress is being made in identifying numerous genes each with small individual effect. Increasing genetic insight allows the development of evolutionary theories of personality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationeLS
ISBN (Electronic)9780470015902
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2017


  • five-factor model
  • heritability
  • genome-wide association
  • twin studies
  • SNP heritability


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