Genetic and Environmental Influences on Personality Profile Stability: Unraveling the Normativeness Problem


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Wiebke Bleidorn, Department of Psychology, Bielefeld University, Universitaetsstrasse 25, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany. Email:


The present study is the first to disentangle the genetic and environmental influences on personality profile stability. Spanning a period of 10 years, we analyzed the etiology of 3 aspects of profile stability (overall profile stability, distinctive profile stability, and profile normativeness) using self- and peer reports from 539 identical and 280 fraternal twins reared together. This 3-wave multirater twin design allowed us to estimate the genetic and environmental effects on latent true scores of the 3 aspects of profile stability while controlling for method effects and random error. Consistent biometric results were only found for profile normativeness, whereas overall and distinctive profile stability scores turned out to be biased. Over time, we found personality profile normativeness to be relatively stable. This stability was due to both stable genetic and nonshared environmental effects, whereas innovative variance was completely explained by nonshared environmental effects. Our findings emphasize the importance of distinguishing between the different aspects of profile stability, since overall and distinctive stability scores are likely biased due to the normativeness problem. Yet indicating a person's similarity to the average person, the normativeness of a personality profile itself has a psychological meaning beyond socially desirable responding.