Behavioral Genetics and Personality Change


  • We thank John C Loehhn for his helpful comments and John C DeFries for his contribution to demonstrating the relationship between change scores and genetic correlations This research was supported in part by grants supporting the Swedish Adoption/ Twin Study of Aging (SATSA) and the Colorado Adoption Project (CAP) SATSA, an ongoing study conducted at the Department of Environmental Hygiene of the Karolmska Institute in Stockholm, in collaboration with the Research Center for Developmental and Health Genetics at Pennsylvania State University, is supported by National Institute of Aging Grant AG-04563 and by a grant from the Successful Aging Program of the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation CAP is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (BNS-86–04692) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD-10333 and HD-18426)

Requests for reprints should be addressed to Robert Plomin, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802


ABSTRACT Although research on personality and behavioral genetics has focused on the continuity of traits, both fields and their interface will profit from the consideration of trait change In this article we review personality research on age differences in hentabdity and propose the counterintuitive hypothesis that, when developmental changes in hentabihty are found, hentability tends to increase We also focus on behavioral genetic analyses of long-term developmental change Research to date suggests that genetic involvement in adult personality change is slight whereas personality change in childhood is governed substantially by genetic factors Finally, we consider a new topic, genetic influence on short-term change in personality