We definitely inherit our DNA, but we do not inherit our personalities in any set sense. Nobody can predict what sort of person you will be or what you will do in life just on your DNA. Your environment has a much greater influence on who you are and how you live your life.
The way scientists think about personality is as a result of how people behave. Just like with any other trait people can show evidence of being born with certain traits (i.e., genetics), they can also change over time (i.e., environment). In order to explain this evidence scientists look at what people say about their own personalities and how they act. They try to understand if there is any connection between how people talk about themselves and how others react to them.
People can differ in how they describe themselves and how others perceive them. This is true for behaviors such as kindness or competitiveness. People may see things in themselves that they do not realize exist otherwise they might notice things about themselves that other people do not agree with. These differences in perception cause problems when trying to answer the question of whether or not genetics play a role in shaping our personalities. It is difficult to distinguish between what people tell you about themselves and what they really feel inside unless they say one thing and then another.
Personality characteristics are complex, and research indicates that they are influenced by both genetic and environmental influences. These two forces interact in a number of ways to shape our distinct identities. While it is possible for individuals to acquire new behaviors through experience, the way in which they are born with certain traits makes them likely to show those behaviors again under similar circumstances.
For example, scientists have found evidence that shows people who score high on measures of extroversion are more likely to have children who also score high on extroversion. This correlation was observed even after accounting for differences in age, gender, education, income, physical health, and other factors that might influence whether or not you want kids. It appears that extroverts are more likely to reproduce others like themselves, while introverts tend to spawn more introverted offspring.
There are several other traits that show a pattern of inheritance across multiple studies. Neuroticism, for example, has been linked to genes related to anxiety and depression, while openness to experience has been shown to be correlated with genes related to creativity. All five of the most common human personalities traits can be found among parents and their children, indicating that these qualities are inherited rather than acquired through life experiences.
Although genetics play a role in how we develop as individuals, environment also has an impact.
Some characteristics are inherited. Bressette argues that studies reveal that personality traits may be inherited, which explains why children are sometimes precisely like or nothing like their parents. Extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness are the five personality qualities. These traits are found in all people but are expressed to different degrees.
Personality traits are developed over time through experiences and interactions with other people. A person's traits will often reflect those of their parents, but they can also be influenced by many other factors such as education, social status, role models, etc.
For example, if one parent is extroverted and the other introverted, then their child will exhibit both traits, but they could either show one above the other or be equal among them. If a child shows an excess of one trait over the other, they may come to be called "extroverted" or "introverted."
Finally, some characteristics are completely random. No matter what your parents are like at these traits, you will still end up with different ones. This is because each trait has two components: how much of it you have and where it comes from. Your parents' genes only give you information about how much of each trait they had.
Personality is defined by the effects of several genes working together, rather than by a single gene. The findings of family studies, twin studies, and adoptive studies provide the foundation of behavioral genetics. In general, heredity has a bigger impact on our personalities than our parents. However, environment also plays a role.
The relationship between genotype and phenotype is influenced by two factors: the nature-nurture debate and genetic heterogeneity. Nature refers to the influence of genes on behavior, while nurture refers to the influence of environmental factors such as parenting style. According to the nature-nurture debate, genes play a greater role in determining human behavior than environmental factors. However, this view is now being challenged by the evidence of epigenetics - changes to DNA that do not involve changes to the DNA sequence itself but that can still have an effect on how this information is expressed. For example, an environmental factor such as stress can cause changes to the methylation pattern of a gene, which would be considered part of the environment but which could still have an impact on the personality of an individual.
Genetic heterogeneity occurs when there are multiple genes involved in producing a given trait. For example, there are many genes involved in creating the chemical messengers serotonin, and therefore altering its function may change various aspects of personality simultaneously. Some researchers believe that more than one gene might be responsible for some cases of depression.