Research finds genetic link to personality trait

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 13 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:75
  1. Tessa Richards

    The first evidence that a normal personality trait is partially medicated by genes comes from two studies, one from Israel and the other from the United States (Nature Genetics 1995;12:78-80, 81-4). Both test the hypothesis that individual variation in the “novelty seeking” trait, a normal personality characteristic that we all possess, is associated with a genetically determined variability in dopamine transmission in the brain.

    Both found, in different populations of normal subjects, a significant association between high test scores on validated questionnaires measuring novelty seeking — characterised by excitable, impulsive, exploratory, and extravagant behaviour—and the presence of long alleles of D4 dopamine receptor gene exon III. Those with only short alleles had lower novelty …

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