Does success run in your family or are you a product of your environment? The age-old question of nature vs. nurture is still being debated and studied. The latest development was published the Journal of Personality. The study, which utilizes previous research that connects happiness and genetics, says that your genes mean more than outside factors in certain situations.

A study of more than 800 sets of twins found that genetics were more influential in shaping key traits than a person’s home environment and surroundings.

Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh who carried out the study, say that genetically influenced characteristics could well be the key to how successful a person is in life.

Participants were asked a number of questions that were then analyzed according to the Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale.

By tracking their answers, the research team found that identical twins — whose DNA is [presumed to be] exactly the same — were twice as likely to share traits compared with non-identical twins.

Psychologists say the findings are significant because the stronger the genetic link, the more likely it is that these character traits are carried through a family.

Professor Timothy Bates, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said that the genetic influence was strongest on a person’s sense of self-control.

Researchers found that genes affected a person’s sense of purpose, how well they get on with people and their ability to continue learning and developing.


What do you believe are the ultimate determinants of success?

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  • Simone L

    Oy, psychology. My very major. According to my biopsychology textbook, one cannot clearly make a distinction between which one contributes more. When you hear beautiful music, is it because of the musician or the instrument? Both working together,equally. My husband is raised by his stepfather, and he is just like him. Had genetics had it’s way, he’d be timid like his father because genetics played a part. My husband isn’t the least bit timid. On the other hand, I’m exactly like my father and my sister is exactly like my mother. I shared the same environment as my mom…yet I am very little like her. Nature vs. nurture is nothing that is set in stone.

  • OMG me and my boyfriend were just arguing this last night!! He believes that its nature whereas I believe its nurture. I won’t be sharing with him this nugget of information that proves he was right haha gonna keep this one to myself.


      I believe it’s both.

  • Felicia

    I was under the impression that there was a consensus that it is the combination of both nature and nurture that determines the behavior and the very essence of human cognition.