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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Discuss the findings of the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart as they relate to personality and genetics
  • Discuss temperament and describe the three infant temperaments identified by Thomas and Chess
  • Discuss the evolutionary perspective on personality development

How much of our personality is in-born and biological, and how much is influenced by the environment and culture we are raised in? Psychologists who favor the biological approach believe that inherited predispositions as well as physiological processes can be used to explain differences in our personalities (Burger, 2008).

In the field of behavioral genetics, the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart —a well-known study of the genetic basis for personality—conducted research with twins from 1979 to 1999. In studying 350 pairs of twins, including pairs of identical and fraternal twins reared together and apart, researchers found that identical twins, whether raised together or apart, have very similar personalities (Bouchard, 1994; Bouchard, Lykken, McGue, Segal,&Tellegen, 1990; Segal, 2012). These findings suggest the heritability of some personality traits. Heritability refers to the proportion of difference among people that is attributed to genetics. Some of the traits that the study reported as having more than a 0.50 heritability ratio include leadership, obedience to authority, a sense of well-being, alienation, resistance to stress, and fearfulness. The implication is that some aspects of our personalities are largely controlled by genetics; however, it’s important to point out that traits are not determined by a single gene, but by a combination of many genes, as well as by epigenetic factors that control whether the genes are expressed.

Temperament

Most contemporary psychologists believe temperament has a biological basis due to its appearance very early in our lives (Rothbart, 2011). As you learned when you studied lifespan development, Thomas and Chess (1977) found that babies could be categorized into one of three temperaments: easy, difficult, or slow to warm up. However, environmental factors (family interactions, for example) and maturation can affect the ways in which children’s personalities are expressed (Carter et al., 2008).

Research suggests that there are two dimensions of our temperament that are important parts of our adult personality—reactivity and self-regulation (Rothbart, Ahadi,&Evans, 2000). Reactivity refers to how we respond to new or challenging environmental stimuli; self-regulation refers to our ability to control that response (Rothbart&Derryberry, 1981; Rothbart, Sheese, Rueda,&Posner, 2011). For example, one person may immediately respond to new stimuli with a high level of anxiety, while another barely notices it.

Body type and temperament

Is there an association between your body type and your temperament? The constitutional perspective, which examines the relationship between the structure of the human body and behavior, seeks to answer this question (Genovese, 2008). The first comprehensive system of constitutional psychology was proposed by American psychologist William H. Sheldon (1940, 1942). He believed that your body type can be linked to your personality. Sheldon’s life’s work was spent observing human bodies and temperaments. Based on his observations and interviews of hundreds of people, he proposed three body/personality types, which he called somatotypes.

The three somatotypes are ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs ( [link] ). Ectomorphs are thin with a small bone structure and very little fat on their bodies. According to Sheldon, the ectomorph personality is anxious, self-conscious, artistic, thoughtful, quiet, and private. They enjoy intellectual stimulation and feel uncomfortable in social situations. Actors Adrien Brody and Nicole Kidman would be characterized as ectomorphs. Endomorphs are the opposite of ectomorphs. Endomorphs have narrow shoulders and wide hips, and carry extra fat on their round bodies. Sheldon described endomorphs as being relaxed, comfortable, good-humored, even-tempered, sociable, and tolerant. Endomorphs enjoy affection and detest disapproval. Queen Latifah and Jack Black would be considered endomorphs. The third somatotype is the mesomorph. This body type falls between the ectomorph and the endomorph. Mesomorphs have large bone structure, well-defined muscles, broad shoulders, narrow waists, and attractive, strong bodies. According to Sheldon, mesomorphs are adventurous, assertive, competitive, and fearless. They are curious and enjoy trying new things, but can also be obnoxious and aggressive. Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johannson would likely be mesomorphs.

The outlines of three human somatotypes are shown. The first is labeled, “Endomorph,” the second is labeled “Mesomorph,” and the third is labeled “Ectomorph.” Endomorphs are slightly larger than mesomorphs, and ectomorphs are slightly smaller than mesomorphs.
Sheldon proposed three somatotypes: endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs. Do you think Sheldon’s ideas about somatotypes are generally accurate about most people?

Sheldon (1949) also conducted further research into somatotypes and criminality. He measured the physical proportions of hundreds of juvenile delinquent boys in comparison to male college students, and found that problem youth were primarily mesomorphs. Why might this be? Perhaps it’s because they are quick to anger and don’t have the restraint demonstrated by ectomorphs. Maybe it’s because a person with a mesomorphic body type reflects high levels of testosterone, which may lead to more aggressive behavior. Can you think of other explanations for Sheldon’s findings?

Sheldon’s method of somatotyping is not without criticism, as it has been considered largely subjective (Carter&Heath, 1990; Cortés&Gatti, 1972; Parnell, 1958). More systematic and controlled research methods did not support his findings (Eysenck, 1970). Consequently, it’s not uncommon to see his theory labeled as pseudoscience, much like Gall’s theory of phrenology (Rafter, 2007; Rosenbaum, 1995). However, studies involving correlations between somatotype, temperament, and children’s school performance (Sanford et al., 1943; Parnell); somatotype and performance of pilots during wartime (Damon, 1955); and somatotype and temperament (Peterson, Liivamagi,&Koskel, 2006) did support his theory.

Summary

Some aspects of our personalities are largely controlled by genetics; however, environmental factors (such as family interactions) and maturation can affect the ways in which children’s personalities are expressed.

Personal application questions

Research suggests that many of our personality characteristics have a genetic component. What traits do you think you inherited from your parents? Provide examples. How might modeling (environment) influenced your characteristics as well?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

Hello everybody! I am Ann from Russia. I would like to discuss this and text topic to improve my knowledge in psychology and my English.
Anna Reply
hello, I'm Olamide from Nigeria.
la
Hello:)
Anna
Are you psychologist or student or somebody else?)
Anna
something else
Yato
здравствуйте Анна! меня зовут Joshua, what would you like to know?As someone who's lived in South Africa,UK, and Australia I have a хорошо understanding of English :)
Universally
I'm psychologist from Pakistan
mian
i can help you?
mian
Oh
Abba
Yes
mian
Hmm
mian
hi
Precious
Yes
mian
Hello again
Anna
hello :) I'm Yasmine and I'm from Tunisia. i have a bachelor's degree in psychology
Yasmine
This app unfortunately work slow(
Anna
wow, I'm from tunisia too but I'm still a student
Faten
what is the phsicology behind female players? i know that male players don't have a close relationship with their feather, so they observe closer their mother, understanding better what females want, having ease with them, but i cant think of the circumstances a woman has to have to become a player
Yato
Faten that's really cool! where do you study? FSHST?
Yasmine
no, in ISSHT
Faten
it's near FSHST you know right?
Faten
Tunisia, I was there
Anna
Which field of psychology is popular in Tunisia?
Anna
@psychologist_bia
Anna
you can write me
Anna
if you want :)
Anna
For me more interesting -psychology of development
Anna
and what about you, guys?
Anna
@faten yes! i studied in FSHST :) but i still haven't finished my master's. it's in my long term plans
Yasmine
@anna yes we can write to each other. where can i find you?
Yasmine
amazing Yasmine so you have a license?
Faten
it seems like i can't send links to social media here in this app
Yasmine
Yes Faten, i graduated a year ago! what about you?
Yasmine
you can contact me via IG, cutiepatootie9
Yasmine
it's my first year so I'm still a beginner hhhhhh
Faten
congratulations btw
Faten
it's my first year so I'm still a beginner hhhhhhh
Faten
thanks Faten! i hope you're enjoying it
Yasmine
You all are psychology students?
Hamna
@yasmine yes I am actually enjoying it. it's super interesting!
Faten
oooo
Precious
i'm currently finishing my 2nd year of my degree :')
Precious
I'm just in high school :3
Hamna
cool! you're planning to take psyc as ur major?
Precious
I don't know yet. I'm just interested in it for now.
Hamna
nice! it certainly is very interesting :')
Precious
:) do u plan on being a psychologist?
Hamna
Hello guys, this is student from highschool. If anyone does live in America, have you guys ever took AP Psychology? I want to find some students or teachers who took this class.
Oh, sorry for inconvenience. I putted in the wrong chat. Sorry!
hello, guys, I graduated psychology and I'm looking for pdf of Psychology Assessment., theories of personality If anyone had can you send me 😊😊 advance thank you ' esplagokingwebster@gmail
King
what is mood
Abdi Reply
mood is an affective state. In contrast to emotions or feelings, moods are less specific, less intense and less likely to be provoked or instantiated by a particular stimulus or event
la
Why some woman are looking up and down why you approach her?
Ridwan Reply
I don't know
GOPAL
It could be a sign of either lack of interest or maybe they are nervous.
Rachna
if a girl don't look directly in your eyes while talking then it is 80 percent sure that she has crush on you
Sanket
or she is scared. fear creates an avoidant-type relationship. as does embarrassment. when a woman is so bold to look you in the eye, or other visual signs of her attention, she is performing a feminine courtship
but all this is also confirmed or denied by cultural background. in some countries women would be frowned on for approaching the man in any form. some societies hold women in highest regard, and thus their judgment is considered an honor.
not looking in the eye, is a sign if a female going through the development of a crush on the person OR that her past experiences and trauma compels her to avoid eye-contact. usually females do act nervous around the men they like but once there is an establishment of comfortness and trust
Tiasha
using myself as an example: if im interested, you will know it by my focus, my curiosity, my desire to know more. much like an interrogation i suppose. every question would ripple through you demanding an answer. then progressing onward. if im not interested, i would find some way out
looking into the eyes is just a matter of time
Tiasha
It is some sort of inhibition and/or trait of famininity.
dcs
if the woman is not interested in you in any way, that is when best she'll look up straight to your eyeballs, but if a woman is actually looking up and down while you ask her out or on a date, believe me, she never believed you in person can ask her out, maybe she feels you are too big to ask her ou
Olaleye
and if you are dressed in a way that is different to the onlooker, of course they are going to examine you. First to discover the apparent trend you are wearing, second to determine if you are foreign or mentally compromised. wink at them and blow a kiss next time. you may get a smile or rejection
if a woman does this to the man she is already dating, it relates to socioeconomical status concerns. "does my man look the part?" "will he make me look foolish among my peers?"
or simply "is he wearing the shoes i recommended?"
its not only happened to women, mens also perceive. mostly shy people feels this often. when shy people makes conversation with opposite genders, the main thinking of their is mostly there deal with opposite gender, its leads to shy and discomfort and makes them avoided straight look
gokul
the eyes are considered soul-bearing. to stay disconnected from sharing that part of yourself says many things, usually fear or discomfort. perhaps inferiority complex. or simply shyness as mentioned by gokul
May be she is Practical Minded. Gold Digger ? Because those type people Frequently look Top to Bottom to Analyse a Persons worth. The Best way to Judge is 1) She Holds an iPhone (just to look Posh) 2) She has a Cringy Behavior While Talking. (doesn't have a cultured attitude)
Mushtaque
if those two parameters match in any Girl. Then Money Speaks to her. Money in sense any form (Gift's / Phone's / Jewellery etc) Check Wisely and Approach Anyone Buddy. Take Care.
Mushtaque
very good Mushtaque. Her arrogant behavior or desire for flashy and valuable items would be signs of this. How would you handle this type of person if you were caught on conversation?
Being a Psychologist, I would look at her as a Subject and Have Conversation and know better about her and her intentions and why and what made her become like that. Hopefully not a One Day Task. In General as a Human, I would just Ignore.
Mushtaque
Mushtaque don't you think a psychologist is not supposed to judge a person? As far as I can see from your above messages you have already come to a conclusion that these are going to be her intentions. As a psychologist, should not you know that humans are complex and every individual differs?
Alisha
In this way you're Judging Psychologist's that they Cant Judge. hmmm. well, ofcourse they are Complex , but Traits are identifiable.
Mushtaque
a part of psychology is on human behavior which as well all know is variable. so, being a psychologist do you think an individual can be confined to first impressions?
Alisha
being psychologist is about being open minded and looking not judging as no individual is the same plus it's about digging deeper into the reasons behind the actions of certain individuals
Rhian
could not be put into better words, rhian.
Alisha
Agree with you Thomas.
Mushtaque
hi 👋
kim
Application Error, Shown Rhian name as Rhian Thomas. previous comment was for Rhian.
Mushtaque
I need help please
kim
Hi Kim Liza. May I know What Kind of Help you are seeking ?
Mushtaque
I have a talk in humanistic psychology I don't know what to do
kim
i seems not to understand your question please, can you enlighten us on it so as to contribute or proffer solution to it
Olaleye
you have to make a presentation that talks about humanistic psychology
kim
I made an introduction
kim
can u help me
kim
Humanistic Psychology: It is a psychological perspective that emphasizes the study of the whole person. Humanistic psychologists look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving.
Olaleye
Proponents of Humanistic Psychology Abraham Maslow Co-Founder of Humanistic Psychology with Carl Rogers Believed we are all biologically driven to achieve self- actualization Came up with Hierarchy of Needs theory that is most important humanistic theory.
Olaleye
thank you so much
kim
Proponents of Humanistic Psychology Abraham Maslow  Co-Founder of Humanistic Psychology with Carl Rogers  Believed we are all biologically driven to achieve self- actualization  Came up with Hierarchy of Needs theory that is most important humanistic theory.
Olaleye
Maslow is known for his Hierarchy of Needs • Maslow proposed 5 levels of need: from basic to more advanced, they are: – Physiological (food, water, sex) – Safety (security, order, stability – Belongingness and love – Esteem (from self and others) – Self-actualization • The more bas
Olaleye
According to Carl Rogers • Important issues must be defined by the individual: importance of an autonomous self: self-insight is what predicts later behavior. • Actualizing tendency: people tend to develop in a positive direction, toward self-actualization
Olaleye
• The way we perceive our environment determines how it affects us. (Roger's theory emphasizes phenomenology) • Incongruence between our self-concept and our experience leads to pathology
Olaleye
In Rogerian therapy, the client • Moves from talking about externals to talking about personal issues • Moves from talking about the past to dealing with the present • Becomes closer to and more comfortable with his/her feelings
Olaleye
• Becomes more open to new experiences, experiences more freedom
Olaleye
The Fully Functioning Person, for Rogers • Is aware of all experiences • Lives in the moment • Trusts in his/her self • Experiences freedom in choices • Is creative and adapts well • Is still growing and experiencing difficulties
Olaleye
i hope you will find this helpful
Olaleye
yeaaa thank you so much
kim
hey Guy's
Joseph
what's the difference between hallucinations and being crazy?
Joseph
they are both abnormalities
Olaleye
false perception in the absence of stimulus is hallucination.
dcs
crazy is a regular word using in daily life, which is passoinated towards objects or creatures.
dcs
Is/did anyone study/ing forensic psychology
AUDREIGH
please explain acquisition of skills
oshin
thanks everyone
Gimba
Acquisition Skill is the stage during which a new response is learned and gradually strengthened. For instance, Hitting moving objects, Horse riding, car driving etc,.
dcs
start a new thread for acquisition of skills
sumitra
what is the last stage of experimental method
sawera Reply
the thing which are used to verify hypotheses in experimental method it is called
sawera
Hi.. I'm unable to open the chat.. how do I do that.. please help!
sumitra Reply
español traducir en español ya
Rafael Reply
I'm sure if you went to settings you would be able to change the language.
Demi
안 데여. 한번도 못 찾았어요.
Lex
그런데 여기서 미국 사람들이 우리가 영화 쓰는 거는 그렇게 시킨 거야.
Lex
내가 뭐 물어 볼까 봐 그냥 이거 뭐라고
Lex
it's not speaking nonsense cuz you know it is basically nonsense the machine doesn't really hear what I'm saying cuz I can speak English as well. easier to take direction when you say Jolly Good, Tally Ho. God save the Queen for me.Pro Deo et Patriae And other snazzy cliches.Irrumatus Manducare US
Lex
anglo wasp POS
Lex
cave dwelling trogledite.
Lex
forgive my spelling.
Lex
what r u doing
ANGELICA
what's actually going on here?
Demi
ok
ANGELICA
take it easy
King
are you guys studying or working
King
I'm studying, what are you?
Demi
im studying
ANGELICA
are you enjoying it angelica?
Demi
this year, I'm going to take Rpm
King
hoping to pass the exam
King
studying what?
King
I'm studying clinical. good luck with your exams!
Demi
Thanks Demi.
King
hi
Sharavana
hello., how are you
King
I wonder why this app don't have information about statistics
King
that's a very good point. I've found the app very helpful for my introduction into my new career path so I'm more than great full
Demi
I hope to find app like yours
King
this subject I need to review: Psychological Assessment, Theories of Personality, Abnormal Psychology and Industrial Psychology.., I need to refresh my mind even though I'm a fresh Graduate of Bs Psychology.
King
food in classical condition is called
dude Reply
dream anylisis is method of
dude
dream anylisis is method of
dude
psychoanalysis
Kaiser
food is unconditioned stimulus
gokul
it's a necessity
Anthony
its unconditional stimulus
Puja
Unconditional Stimulus
dcs
conditioned stimulus
Laura
classical conditioning
JADE
advantages of ECG in biopsychology
Sheeba Reply
can I get the information about the advantages of ECG in biopsychology
Sheeba
what do you call that moment right before the "emotion (s)" take place? that blink of an eye flash because that is how I I experience being a person with schizophrenia...?
Stepphun Reply
at childhood, focus is upon what?
Oliver Reply
It shld be on their developmental stages!! Oliver. From cognitive to kinesthetic, intrapersonal to interpersonal, fine motor to gross motor, n strong reasoning skills etc.
Smitha
Check the works of Jean Piaget n Erick Erickson's stages of developments, will be helpful.
Smitha
Child develops in all the biopsychosocial ways, and all the developments at that time are crucial. From biological perspective, neural development and sensory and motor abilities psychological perspective: various cognitive processes develop Social aspect focus on development of various relations.
Pranav
define knowledge and compare it with learning
lidsay Reply
Is learning a cognitive behaviour?
sumitra Reply
Its the ability to act instinctly
lidsay
is there motivation in cognitive thinking and behaviour?
Stepphun Reply
what is fear appeal
Takdees Reply
manovijan ka tisara bal kya hai
Pawan Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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