Mind

Personality and genes

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanNov 11, 2011 8:10 AM

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There's a variable in the GSS, GENEEXPS, which asks if genes play a role in personality. The options are:

- It's genes which play a major role

- It's experience which determines personality

First, let's admit that the premise is stupid. Personality is heritable, but environmental variation also seems to matter. In other words it is noncontroversial to assert that both genes and environment can explain variation in personality (or perhaps more precisely genetic variation can only explain around half the variation for any given trait).

I was curious how this broke down by education and intelligence. To remove demographic confounds I limited the sample to non-Hispanic whites. For intelligence I used WORDSUM, with scores 0-4 being dumb, 5-7 being average, and 8-10 being smart.

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