Genetic and Environmental Influences on Person × Situation Profiles


  • Peter Borkenau, Department of Psychology, Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle, Germany; Rainer Riemann, Department of Psychology, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena, Germany; Frank M. Spinath, Department of Psychology, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany; Alois Angleitner, Department of Psychology, Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.

  • This research was supported by a grant from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to Alois Angleitner, Peter Borkenau, and Rainer Riemann. We are indebted to the twins and the judges for their participation, to the experimenters Susanne Hempel, Veronika Koch, Conny Post, Beatrice Rammstedt, Birgit Schlangen, and Robert Weiß for collecting the data, and to Holger Lorenz, Anne Neumann, and Wolfgang Thiel for their help in the data analysis.

concerning this article should be addressed to Peter Borkenau, Department of Psychology, Martin-Luther-Universität, D-06099 Halle, Germany. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Genetic and environmental influences on Person × Situation interactions were studied using data of the German Observational Study of Adult Twins. The performance of 168 monozygotic and 132 dizygotic twin pairs in 15 tasks was observed by 120 judges who never met the twins in person. Four judges observed one twin of each pair in one task. Twin similarities in Person × Situation profiles were analyzed via (a) correlations across tasks between co-twins' Person × Situation profiles (their personality signatures) and (b) common-pathway genetic models that partitioned genetic and environmental contributions to trait levels and to Person × Situation interactions. Genes accounted for about 25% of the reliable Person × Situation interactions, whereas shared environmental influences were negligible.