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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores how the field of behavior genetics—the genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in human behavior—can aid and inform personality assessment. These two fields of study are often quite distinct: personality assessment applies to the study of a singular individual; behavior genetics typically is used to describe population-level individual differences. However, behavior genetic methodology has been vital in helping to understand how genetic and environmental influences transact in the development of personality. Nature and nurture are both important contributors to variation in human personality and newer methodologies from both behavior and molecular genetics hold great promise for understanding how different etiological factors interact in the development of personality. The article considers biometric models and the important contributions from decades of behavior genetic research into personality, and how research using newer biometric moderation models allows for group-specific estimates of heritability and environmental influences on personality. It also examines how twin studies work and what they have taught us about personality, as well as what adoption studies have taught us about personality.

Keywords: behavior genetics, personality assessment, personality, nature and nurture, molecular genetics, biometric models, heritability, environmental influences, twin studies, adoption

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