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J Pers. 1993 Jun;61(2):159-79.

Genetic and environmental effects on openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness: an adoption/twin study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame.


Previous research has indicated that extraversion and neuroticism are substantially affected both by genotype and environment. This study assesses genetic and environmental influences on the other three components of the five-factor model of personality: Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. An abbreviated version of the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI) was administered to 82 pairs of identical twins and 171 pairs of fraternal twins reared apart and 132 pairs of identical twins and 167 pairs of fraternal twins reared together. Estimates of genetic and environmental effects for Openness and Conscientiousness were similar to those found in other studies of personality: Genetic influence was substantial and there was little evidence of shared rearing environment. Results for Agreeableness were different: Genetic influence accounted for only 12% of the variance and shared rearing environment accounted for 21% of the variance. Few significant gender or age differences for genetic and environmental parameters were found in model-fitting analyses.

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