Genes Make for a Life of Success

Medical Xpress, May 16, 2012

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.

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

“Previously, the role of family and the environment around the home often dominated people’s ideas about what affected psychological well-being. However, this work highlights a much more powerful influence from genetics,” said Professor Timothy Bates, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

The study of twins in the US – most aged 50 and over- used a series of questions to test how they perceived themselves and others.

Questions included “Are you influenced by people with strong opinions?” and “Are you disappointed about your achievements in life?”

The results were then measured according to the Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale, which assesses and standardises these characteristics.

By tracking their answers, the research team found that identical twins – whose DNA is 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’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.

“Previously, the role of family and the environment around the home often dominated people’s ideas about what affected psychological well-being. However, this work highlights a much more powerful influence from genetics,” Professor Bates added.

The study, which builds on previous research that found that happiness is underpinned by genes, is published online in the Journal of Personality.


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  • JohnEngelman

    Even when identical twins are reared apart they are remarkably similar. 
    This lends further credibility to The Bell Curve, and discredits the belief that social reform and social welfare spending can cure social problems caused by personal inadequacies. 

  • holyflower

    “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.”


    COMMENT: Another way of saying genes determine both intelligence and moral character.


    “Previously, the role of family and the environment around the home often dominated people’s ideas about what affected psychological well-being . . .  this work highlights a much more powerful influence from genetics.”


    COMMENT: Anyone who knows a fine family who adopted a child/children born of troubled/dysfunctional biological parents knows this brutal reality.

    • The__Bobster

      Our ancestors respected good breeding. When did this go out of vogue?

      • holyflower

        Discussion of “good breeding” —as relates to race — has been “out of vogue” for a very long time.  We have paid a terrible price for this censorship, individually and as a nation.  At the 2011 American Renaissance Conference Sam Dickson devoted a portion of his talk more than a century of suppression of knowledge of racial differences.  Quoting: 

        …I’d like to say to the audience here and the people whose plans to participate in this [2011 American Renaissance] conference have been thwarted by the kinds of silencing and censorship we’ve seen [from a Charlotte City Councilman] that you must not think this is anything new, that this is a shocking new betrayal by the establishment of some kind of a commitment to freedom of speech and civic discourse.  This is not new . . . An intolerance of racial discussion stretches back at least five generations.

        There is a book — and I have recommended it to many people — by an Englishman named Sir Spencer St. John . . . St. John was British ambassador to Haiti for much of the last half of the 1800s, and he wrote a book called Hayti or the Black Republic about his decades of living in Port au Prince as Queen Victoria’s diplomatic representative . . .  The book is not flattering in its assessment of the future of Haiti and of the capacity of the Haitian people ever to be civilized and to have a stable government.

        Already — this book was published in the 1890s — already, when you read the introduction he has to apologize, he has to pull his punches, and he has to console the people . . . who will be upset by his conclusions on the subject of race.  Already, by the terms not of the last century, but the century before, the orthodoxy of race meaning nothing and everybody being equal was in the ascendancy.  And it was not a tolerant idea.

        When the film The Birth of a Nation, one of the great breakthroughs of cinematography [was produced], this film could not be shown in many, many areas of America because the NAACP has as one of its first activities the banning of the censoring and prevention of the film The Birth of a Nation being shown . . . There were thousands of cancellations . . . backed by hundreds of municipal ordinances that [prevented] the showing of The Birth of a Nation.

        … In the 1930s, one of the great leading lights of the American Intelligentsia, Madison Grant, the curator of a major museum, wrote a book, The Conquest of a Continent.  It’s written — not hatefully towards minorities — but it is what we call triumphalist history about he founding stock of the nation, the Anglo-Saxon founders and their related, assimilated peoples.

        The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith directed that this book was to be prevented from being sold.  No Reviews.  Do not allow it on the shelves because it is a triumphalist history written from the WASP point perspective.  So in the 1930s you saw major scholars’ books being banned from general circulation.

        Something has been completely forgotten on our side is Hubert Humphrey.  I doubt if I asked for a show of hands in this room there would be more than three people who would know how it was that Hubert Humphrey came first to national attention and projected himself into the U. S. Senate and this was achieved when he was mayor of Minneapolis . . . After the war, isolationists began falling out of the closets that they’d been locked into under the Roosevelt regime, and they tried to hold a meeting in Minneapolis. . . Hubert Humphrey helped stir up a mob to prevent the meeting from taking place and withdrew police protection as major of Minneapolis . . . This got the attention of the liberal establishment as a man who was worthy of being raised to the U. S. Senate and eventually to the vice presidency and almost to the presidency of the country. So in the late 1940s we find them doing exactly what they have done at this conference.   

        As a final example, Africa Addio, the Italian movie . . . The American people were not allowed to see this movie, which was produced in th early 1960s, because Arthur Goldberg, as a leading figure in the Kennedy-Johnson administrations directed a campaign to induce American theatre owners not to present this movie because it would undermine support for civil rights and anti-colonialism.

        And they — just as the Sheraton Hotel [in Charlotte] obediently complied . . . the American move theaters were unwilling to take on the federal government . . . being asked by the federal government not to show a movie. And so we were unable to see Africa Addio for decades until the breakthrough of the Internet made it possible to see this movie.  Even I, who would love to have seen it . . . even I, who was aware of the campaign being implemented to prevent it from being seen . . . even I could find no way to see the movie for decades, so successful was the climate of fear and censorship that had been brought to bear on racial matters.

        You even have the SPLC — to conclude on this point — which is an organization heavily endowed with the avowed purpose of preventing the dissemination of ideas, an organization whose expressed purpose is to prevent the main streaming of our ideas, an organization dedicated to preventing thoughts and ideas and scientific data from being considered.

        And this organization — in a parody of the liberal parody of McCarthy — goes about the nation trying to financially ruin people who oppose them.  They dispatch people to stir up demonstrations against professors.  They attack lawyers they don’t like.  They mail propaganda to judges to try to destroy lawyers’ law practices who dare to oppose them and their will . . .

  • Church_of_Jed

    More “dangerous discoveries”.

    Soon, somebody “respectable” will put all the dangerous discoveries together with the minoritized White birth rate, and make some dire predictions about our inevitable and dangerous national fate.

    “Diversity is hate crime against our future.”

    -Rev. Jed DeValleyism, “Lincoln was our kind of racist- he wanted a Whites Only America,” 1999

  • Sherman_McCoy

    I used to blame my upbringing for my earlier failures in life.  I didn’t study harder, I was always daydreaming, etc.  I don’t blame my folks any more.  Two of my four sons are just like me, in spite of every effort to motivate them.  The other two were industrious early on, like their mother.  My sons, like me, straightened themselves out later in life.

  • It’s not that mechanical. We still don’t know mechanism of most of gene-based characteristics. Heck, there is not one universally accepted psychological typology.

  • Just- regarding IT, there is something that defeats genetic materialism. Something I cannot call otherwise but “paranormal”. Their telepathic powers that agitate one when the other is in physical danger, etc. etc.

    Identical twins are, IMO, a refutation of almost universally accepted biological materialism. Soft, not definite,…but nevertheless. IMO- and I’m not forcing this on anyone- para-stuff (precognition, telepathy, maybe paravision, perhaps psychokinesis, maybe even levitation …) is true.

    • MikeofAges

       You don’t need to be so abstract. There is no gene for having a gazebo, but one pair of separated identical twins had exactly that, gazebos in their back yards. Both had the same  occupation. Both married women with a lot of similarities. The term I use for this is a “focus”. IMHO, the ability to form a  common focus between two people exists as a result of similar or identical gene sequences, but the focus itself is not genetic. It forms through an extrasensory process, IMHO. I do not have an identical twin, but I have experienced these with other individuals. Can form with an individual who is  resistant to the experience or entirely non-accepting of the idea.

      According to Maj. Ed Dames, a former “remote viewer” for the military, identical sequences of DNA  can “vibrate” together (just like two adjacent strings  tuned to the same frequency) producing an infinitesimal, but detectable blue light. Perhaps other organized radiations as well, I would think.

      IMO, these molecular vibrations, are then turned by the brain into emotional states and firm ideas and information. Often revealed in the dream process, or at least that’s what my experience is.

      Yes, this  kind  of experience does support the idea that organism is more than it material makeup as that idea is normally understood.

  • Kurt Plummer


     OK, BUT WHY ARE MY SISTER AND ME SO DIFFERENT?  We are not identical twins, but goodness, we look and act NOTHING alike… no similar personality or interests.

    You don’t state whether you are both girls, boys or of mixed gender but that single difference alone would account for  major differences in personality.

    If you are created from different eggs, you will also be subject to gaining 50% less of your genetic material.

    If you were born of different pregnancies, there will be epigenetics changes in both your mother and your developmental imprinting based on what you see your sister/brother undergo with your parents.  There is some evidence which suggests that recombinant transpositional changes within the gametes themselves occur after the first pregnancy changes the woman’s hormonal cycle.

    Children tend to niche` into roles where they can be dominant in their own right such that a child which is 1-2 years younger than their brother or sister may feel physically inadequate to compete in athletics and choose to develop their intelligence or aesthetics or empathic differences instead.  ‘The baby of the family’ is often someone who -chooses- to be that way because it allows them to find social adjutment and acceptance without being overtly imposing on any of multiple other brothers/sisters turf (that this also coincides with parents reaching their maximum income potential in their mid-late thirties also plays a role).

    At the same time, children -do- watch and jealously emulate older siblings, doing what they perceive the other’s do successfully (are rewarded for).  Developmentally, this can lead to first born (or elder) children having a normal onset of puberty and sexualization and younger children entering into adult behaviors rather earlier than they would otherwise, because they see the pleasure and status it gives their elder siblings.  And that simple hormonal change is again going to radically differentiate their behaviors in the same adolescent period.

    Parents tend to become better at raising children or at least more sure of themselves as they gain experience with rearing their first children and apply them to their subsequent yet their financial and genetic resources as well as the simple vigour of life with which they approach the effort may often change.  A child born to an older mother will typically be more intelligent.  To an older father, less so.