The Five Factor Model of personality is wellestablished at the phenotypic level, but much less is known about the coherence of the genetic and environmental influences within each personality domain. Univariate behavioral genetic analyses have consistently found the influence of additive genes and nonshared environment on multiple personality facets, but the extent to which genetic and environmental influences on specific facets reflect more general influences on higher order factors is less clear. We applied a multivariate quantitative-genetic approach to scores on the CPI-Big Five facets for 490 monozygotic and 317 dizygotic twins who took part in the National Merit Twin Study. Our results revealed a complex genetic structure for facets composing all five factors, with both domain-general and facet-specific genetic and environmental influences. For three of the Big Five domains, models that required common genetic and environmental influences on each facet to occur by way of effects on a higher order trait did not fit as well as models allowing for common genetic and environmental effects to act directly on the facets. These results add to the growing body of literature indicating that important variation in personality occurs at the facet level which may be overshadowed by aggregating to the trait level. Research at the facet level, rather than the factor level, is likely to have pragmatic advantages in future research on the genetics of personality.
- Bandwidth-fidelity dilemma
- Broad versus narrow measurement
- Facet structure
- Five Factor Model
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics