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Biol Lett. 2011 Aug 23;7(4):567-70. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1187. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

A common heritable factor influences prosocial obligations across multiple domains.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK. glewis1@gmail.com

Abstract

Although it has been shown that prosocial behaviour is heritable, it has not yet been established whether narrower aspects of prosociality are heritable, nor whether a common mechanism influences prosociality across its multiple domains. Here, we examine civic duty, work-place commitment and concern for the welfare of others with a study of prosocial obligations in 958 adult twin-pairs. Multivariate modelling indicated the existence of genetic factors underlying general prosocial obligations in females, with familial effects (genetic and shared-environment effects were indistinguishable) influencing this general mechanism in males. At the domain-specific level, modest genetic effects were observed in females for civic and work obligations, with shared-environment effects influencing welfare obligations. In males, genetic influences were observed for welfare obligation, with unique environments affecting work and civic duty.

This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society

PMID:
21307044
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3130221
Free PMC Article
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