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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 genetics and evolution of covitality

The genetics and evolution of covitality

(p.146) Chapter 9 The genetics and evolution of covitality
Genetics of Psychological Well-Being

Alexander Weiss

Michelle Luciano

Oxford University Press

Studies of subjective well-being have tempered the tendency to ascribe happiness or subjective well-being to environmental factors and events. Subjective well-being is stable and related to personality traits, such as those defined by the Five-Factor Model. Furthermore, studies of humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans have shown that subjective well-being is heritable and that it shares genetic variation with personality. Thus, across hominoids, variation in stable behavioral, emotional, and cognitive dispositions is genetically correlated with variation in happiness. Studying this “covitality”—the co-occurrence of positive traits—may help reveal the origins of happiness and other positive psychological traits. This chapter highlights questions for study in covitality, including behavioral genetic methodologies that can address evolutionary mechanisms. Such research will help us understand whether positive psychological traits are expressions of traits such as personality, or whether they are distinct and could thus lead to the identification of effective approaches for enhancing the human condition.

Keywords:   subjective well-being, happiness, personality traits, behavioral genetics, covitality, heritability

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