The behavioral genetics of religiousness

Laura B. Koenig, Matt Mc Gue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Behavioral geneticists have sought to characterize the genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in religiousness. Behavioral genetic methodology is described and twin and adoption studies of religiousness are reviewed. It is concluded that familial resemblance for religiousness is due largely to shared e0nvironmental factors in childhood and adolescence, but to genetic factors in adulthood. Additional evidence shows that there is a genetic correlation between religiousness and antisocial and altruistic behavior. Claims for the discovery of a "God gene" are premature and unlikely, as any genetic influence is likely to represent the aggregate effect of many genetic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalTheology and Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • Religiousness
  • altruism
  • antisocial behavior
  • heritability
  • twin and adoption studies


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