jid-31-4-209 - B Ekehammar et of Individual Differences...

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Original Article The Generality of Personality Heritability Big-Five Trait Heritability Predicts Response Time to Trait Items Bo Ekehammar 1 , Nazar Akrami 2 , Lars-Erik Hedlund 2 , Kimio Yoshimura 3 , Yutaka Ono 3 , Juko Ando 3 , and Shinji Yamagata 3 1 Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden, 2 Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, 3 Keio University, Tokyo, Japan Abstract. The present research examined the relationship between heritability and response time for the Big Five personality facets in three samples of adults and adolescents. We predicted that the larger the heritability of a facet the faster is the response to the items of that facet. In support of our predictions, the results showed that heritability and response time were indeed negatively correlated. The effect size of the relationship was small but systematic and statistically significant across all samples. The findings underline the generality of personality heritability and highlight the link between heritability and behavioral indicators. The potential usefulness of both heritability estimates and response time in research on personality is discussed. Keywords: personality, heritability, Big Five, response time Introduction The 5-factor (Big Five) personality theory provides a dis- tinctive outline of normal personality and can be consid- ered the most established structural theory of personality from a wide body of research, the 5-factor model encom- passes 5 higher-order factors with each factor subdivided into six facets (or subfactors). Previous behavior-genetic studies found substantial heritability estimates for person- for the Big Five personality factors (e.g., Bergeman et al., 1993; Bouchard & McGue, 2003; Yamagata et al., 2006) and facets in particular (Jang, Livesley, Angleitner, Rie- mann, & Vernon, 2002; Jang, McCrae, Angleitner, Rie- mann, & Livesley, 1998; Pilia et al., 2006). Whereas be- havioral genetic research of personality has now moved toward analyzing specific genes (see Canli, 2008), the im- plications of the heritability estimates for personality the- ory and research remain unexplored. Understanding the link between heritability and behavioral indicators is essen- tial for theory development and for improving psycholog- ical assessment. Within attitude research, Fazio, Sanbonmatsu, Powell, and Kardes (1986) suggested that attitude strength is relat- ed to attitude accessibility with more strength resulting in faster activation of the attitude. Thus, attitude strength is reflected in the speed with which people report their atti- tudes. Bringing heritability into the attitude domain, Tesser (1993) proposed that heritability is associated with attitude strength. He suggested that if “. . . heritability of an attitude is associated with strength, then the greater the heritability of the attitude, the faster subjects should respond to it”
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2011 for the course PSYCH 101 taught by Professor Brown,b during the Spring '08 term at BYU.

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jid-31-4-209 - B Ekehammar et of Individual Differences...

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