Behavior Genetic Perspectives on Cli nical Personality Assessment

Susan C. South, Robert F. Krueger, Kristian E. Markon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article explores how the field of behavior genetics-the genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in human behavior-can aid and inform personality assessment. These two fields of study are often quite distinct: personality assessment applies to the study of a singular individual; behavior genetics typically is used to describe population-level individual differences. However, behavior genetic methodology has been vital in helping to understand how genetic and environmental influences transact in the development of personality. Nature and nurture are both important contributors to variation in human personality and newer methodologies from both behavior and molecular genetics hold great promise for understanding how different etiological factors interact in the development of personality. The article considers biometric models and the important contributions from decades of behavior genetic research into personality, and how research using newer biometric moderation models allows for group-specific estimates of heritability and environmental influences on personality. It also examines how twin studies work and what they have taught us about personality, as well as what adoption studies have taught us about personality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Personality Assessment
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940592
ISBN (Print)9780195366877
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Adoption
  • Behavior genetics
  • Biometric models
  • Environmental influences
  • Heritability
  • Molecular genetics
  • Nature and nurture
  • Personality
  • Personality assessment
  • Twin studies


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