February 29, 2024

Half of your happiness is genetic

Genes control half of the personality traits that make people happy

More news from the “it's all in your genes” approach to human behaviour. British and Australian researchers are claiming that much of happiness may be genetically determined. A study of nearly 1,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins found that genes control half of the personality traits that make people happy. Factors such as relationships, health and careers are responsible for the rest of our well-being. “It is really quite surprising,” said Tim Bates, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh who led the study. Because identical twins share the same genes and fraternal twins do not, the researchers were able to single out common genes which result in certain personality traits and predispose people to happiness. People who are sociable, active, stable, hardworking and conscientious tend to be happier, the researchers reported in the journal Psychological Science. Dr Alexander Weiss, another member of the research team,  commented: “Together with life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is a core human desire. Although happiness is subject to a wide range of external influences we have found that there is a heritable component of happiness which can be entirely explained by genetic architecture of personality.” ~ U Edinburgh press release, Reuters, Mar 6

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