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Genetic influence in mental health and disposition


Nature versus nurture in mental health. Now we have more information which shows that genes play a greater role in forming character traits, like self-control, decision-making or sociability, than was previously thought.

The new study assessed more than 800 sets of twins and found that genetics were more influential in shaping key traits than experience and home environment. In fact, genetics could well be the key to how successful a person is in life.

“Ever since the ancient Greeks, people have debated the nature of a good life and the nature of a virtuous life. Why do some people seem to manage their lives, have good relationships and cooperate to achieve their goals while others do not? Previously, the role of family and the environment around the home often dominated people’s ideas about what affected psychological well-being. However, this work highlights a much more powerful influence from genetics,” explained Professor Timothy Bates, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

The research team found that identical twins whose DNA is exactly the same were twice as likely to share traits compared with non-identical twins. The findings are significant because the stronger the genetic link, the more likely it is that these character traits are carried through family lines and passed on to future generations. They also found that the genetic influence was strongest on a person’s sense of self-control. Genes also influence a sense of purpose, ability to get along with others and the ability to continue learning and developing.

Source: University of Edinburgh, MedicalNewsToday

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