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Genetics of Psychological Well-BeingThe role of heritability and genetics in positive psychology$
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Michael Pluess

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686674

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686674.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 July 2021

The heritability and genetics of optimism, spirituality, and meaning in life

The heritability and genetics of optimism, spirituality, and meaning in life

(p.132) Chapter 8 The heritability and genetics of optimism, spirituality, and meaning in life
Genetics of Psychological Well-Being

Elaine Fox

Charlotte Booth

Oxford University Press

Optimism, spirituality, and a sense of meaning in life are all considered to be critical components of an individual’s character. This chapter examines the degree to which these character traits are heritable, and begins by assessing how these three important aspects of a person’s character have been defined within psychological science and cognitive neuroscience. It then provides a comprehensive review of the empirical work aimed at investigating heritability and molecular genetics in optimism, spirituality, and meaning in life. It considers quantitative behavioral genetics studies, GWAS, as well as candidate gene studies, and discovers that there are very few studies examining the constructs of optimism, spirituality, and meaning in life from a genetic perspective. However, conclusions are drawn from this small literature and some suggestions made as to what key studies and directions of research would be optimally informative for the future.

Keywords:   optimism, spirituality, meaning in life, behavioral genetics, molecular genetics heritability, candidate genes

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