Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 290
Personality traits/twin studies/Munafò: Heritability of personality traits: Data from a review of the literature (Loehlin 1992)(1), selected primary studies (Jang, Livesley and Vernon 1996(2); Riemann, Angleitner and Strelau 1997(3); Waller 1999(4)) and an analysis (Loehlin 1998(5)) of previously collected data (Loehlin and Nichols 1976(6)), all of which indicate relatively consistent and substantial heritability coefficients for all major personality traits.
It is striking that these findings appear to be relatively independent of the measurement instruments used, and hold for traits drawn from Eysenck’s tripartite theory of personality and those drawn from Costa and McCrae’s ‘Big Five’ model (Bouchard and Loehlin 2001)(7). In particular, there appears to be little or no effect of shared family environment; residual variance is typically labelled as non-shared environment, but it should be noted that this term also includes gene × environment effects and measurement error.



1. Loehlin, J. C. 1992. Genes and environment in personality development. Newbury Park, CA: Sage
2. Jang, K. L., Livesley, W. J. and Vernon, P. A. 1996. Heritability of the big five personality dimensions and their facets, Journal of Personality 64: 577–91
3. Riemann, R., Angleitner, A. and Strelau, J. 1997. Genetic and environmental influences on personality: a study of twins reared together using the self- and peer report NEO-FFI scales, Journal of Personality 65: 449-75
4.Waller, N. G. 1999. Evaluating the structure of personality, in C. R. Cloninger (ed.), Personality and psychopathology, pp. 155–97. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association
5. Loehlin, J. C. 1998. Latent variable models: an introduction to factor, path, and structural analysis, 3rd edn. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
6. Loehlin, J. C. and Nichols, R. C. 1976. Heredity, environment and personality: a study of 850 sets of twins, Austin, TX: University of Texas
7. Bouchard, T. J., Jr and Loehlin, J. C. 2001. Genes, evolution, and personality, Behavioural Genetics 31: 243–73



Marcus R. Munafò,“Behavioural genetics: from variance to DNA“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.)2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Twin Studies
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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