As teens begin to navigate their character, a shift in personality perception of parents occurs. At this stage, teens can analyze their parents and observe and analyze their flaws more indepthly. While teenagers begin to question their parents and family, they are at the peak of defining who they are. This may cause some to resent their parents’ flaws, but for others to admire their parents’ character. While we may perceive our search for self as a solely individual process, there is a potential that our genetics and environment can influence our personality. Recently, research through the University of Oslo has determined that our personality traits may trace to our DNA.
Our personality characteristics may be linked to genetic factors. To exemplify, research at the University of Oslo revealed that there is a genetic relation to levels of happy personalities and life satisfaction with genetics.1 While many individuals may be surrounded by parents that embody levels of happiness during certain times, they may uncontrollably inherit these traits. This may lead us to experience certain characteristics of our parents and ancestors that are not unique to us. If a person’s mom had a very outgoing character, her child may also inherit this trait. On the other side, if a child’s parent is reserved, the child may also display this character trait. Yet, with the translation of personality amongst generations comes along the impact on neurological conditions.
With the influence of genetics on our personality characteristics, there is a potential linkage between genetics and neurological conditions. In the study, lower counts of depression and anxiety correlate with personalities that had higher life satisfaction and happiness.1 Thus as we may inherit genetics for lower life satisfaction, we may also be at risk for anxiety and depression to develop later in life. This may be due to the factorization of which individuals who experience less life satisfaction may perceive life through a different lens than an individual with greater life satisfaction. With the account for personalities, there is a potential that the environment can also impact our personality.
Our environment can also impact the development of our personalities. The study revealed that intertwined with genetics, the environment is speculated to influence the development of our personality.1 This can lead to a differentiation in personalities between individuals, who grew up in emotionally nurturing environments and those who grew up in emotionally draining environments. Those who felt care, compassion, and love in their environment may have developed personalities displaying a positive outlook on life. Yet, those who experience emotional neglect growing up may have developed a negative view of life. As our environment can impact our personality development, so can our ancestors’ environment.
There may also be a linkage between historical ancestorial environmental and genetic traits developed. In the historical realm of trauma faced by underrepresented groups, a person whose ancestors survived slavery and racial prejudices may develop a personality that displays characteristics linked to historical trauma. Individuals with a wealthy historical family that did not face racism may develop characteristics that display a higher life satisfaction. Significantly, the direct relationship between historical trauma and personality development requires room for further research.
While our genetic heritage and environment may play a role in developing our personality, they are not the sole influence. As our personality develops, the exact extent of the impact of our DNA on our personality is unknown. Although we can determine our family origins through DNA testing, there has not been a method developed to determine the personality traits of our ancestors dating two centuries back. Specifically, the mechanism by which our DNA translates to our character is not extensively determined. In the future, it would be fascinating to pinpoint common ancestorial personality traits that influence who we are.
 Røysamb, E., Nes, R.B., Czajkowski, N.O. et al. “Genetics, Personality and Wellbeing. a Twin Study of Traits, Facets and Life Satisfaction.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 17 Aug. 2018, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-29881-x.
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