Do Genes Determine Character Traits

“Character Traits Determined Genetically? Genes May Hold the Key to a Life of Success, Study Suggests. ” I: Introduction Do genes distinguish our personality traits or is it simply environment, and upbringing that makes us who we are? Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered that genes may play a greater role in forming character traits than they were thought to before. Things such as self-control, decision-making or sociability could be more nature than nurture. II: Background
The debate of Nature vs. Nurture has been a widely argued topic among psychologists for more than a century. Both opinions of the nature vs. nurture debate have been examined among researchers and a great amount of research has been found, just no clear conclusions of whether it is one or the other. We have always thought of genes distinguishing your physical features such as eye color, hair color, height, etc. , but can genes play more of a role in your personality than scientists thought? III: Experiment
In this study, more than 800 sets of twins, mostly age 50 and over were tested by a method of asking a series of questions to see how they viewed themselves and others. The questions that were asked included questions like “Are you influenced by people with strong opinions? ” and “Are you disappointed about your achievements in life? ” The answers to these questions were then compared with the Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale. This scale is a Self-perceived quality-of-life scale that is used as a psychological assessment instrument.

It is based on a comprehensive theory of the Self-Perceived Quality of Life and provides a multi-faceted measurement of health-related and non-health-related aspects of well-being. The psychologists found that genetics were more influential in shaping key traits than a person’s home environment and surroundings. They also found through this study that genes affected a person’s sense of purpose, how well they get along with people and their ability to continue learning and developing through out their own lives.
The research team for this study found that the identical twins who’s DNA was exactly the same were more likely to share traits compared with non-identical twins. These findings are significant because, the stronger the genetic link, the more common it is that these character traits are carried through a family. These results also can make a link of epigenetics and the influence epigenetics have on generations. IV: Reflection Nature vs. nurture and the study of genes has been the one topic that has most interested me throughout this class.
I find genes and epigenetics fascinating; therefore I chose to do my paper on this particular topic. This article expresses many aspects of genes and DNA that we went over not only in lab but in lecture as well. Environment plays a key role in the way we personally grow and develop, but genes and epigenetics carry a large part as well. People don’t always realize that genes can cause personality. We have always been taught that genes distinguish things like hair and eye color, and I feel this article shows that genetics is important in all aspects of “creating” an individual.
V: Sources University of Edinburgh (2012, May 16). Character traits determined genetically? Genes may hold the key to a life of success, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 12, 2012, from http://www. sciencedaily. com/releases/2012/05/120516115903. htm The Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being by Tricia A. Seifert, University of Iowa http://www. liberalarts. wabash. edu/ryff-scales/ Nature Nurture in Psychology by Saul McLeod published 2007 * http://www. simplypsychology. org/naturevsnurture. html

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