2019 Sep 21 Sat

Is Your Personality Genetic?

Is Your Personality Genetic?
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How much of your personality is genetic? Have you ever thought about this? I bet you’ve heard at least once of twice in your life the remarks (or accusations) “you’re just like …” or “you remind me off …”

We all know that looks are genetic. On a rare occasion, so are some diseases. There are specific physical traits that can get passed along such as a dimpled chin. There are even statistical formulas that talk about the probability of a blue-eyed parent and a brown-eyed parent have a child with either color eyes.

But how often have you stopped a wondered just how much of your own personality is genetic? Are you just like one of your relatives? Did you ever find distant cousins that were like you in a lot of ways?

Psychologists will argue that your personality is developed by your environment. You aren’t “born that way”, but you learn how to be that way. One of their core arguments is that language is not intuitive. You have to be taught what language, writing, and culture is. This is true, to an extent I believe.

On the flip-side of the argument, you could say that yes, you were in fact born that way. Be it for the good or for the bad, that’s just how you are. Your upbringing as no affect on your life because the person you are today is the person you were at development.

There is another aspect of this to consider. What if your personality is formed during development, but it’s more like a gem stone. A ruby is still a ruby, whether it is in the ground or mounted on a necklace about your neck at a dinner party. When does an emerald not become an emerald? Before or after it is dug up, cut, polished, sold, and then worn?

Your personality is in very much the same way. You have one when you are born, but through the accumulations of your unique perspectives and perceptions, it forms. Rather, it becomes more refined just like a gem stone in a tumbler becomes more defined. However, there is an odd case to consider.

Consider the fact that there have been a few studies done on twins who were separated at birth and never knew of each other. They lived on different sides of the country and had different names, but that is where the differences would end. They liked the same colors, went to college for the same thing, had successful jobs doing the same thing, dated the same kind of girls, even married the same kind of girls (blonde with blue eyes, etc), were politically parallel, enjoyed the same activities, played the same sports, and even had many of the same habits in the bathroom and housekeeping routines. Their environments were different, yet they were alike in a lot of ways. Why? How much of their personality or character traits is genetic?

Not everything is known about the genetic code. We’re still learning these things to this day and in many more years to come. We may never learn what each part does or how it shapes our bodies and minds.

But think about this: which one of your ancestors are you like? If you have children or grandchildren, which one of them are more like you?

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Editor-in-Chief for The Daily Journal

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