Bleidorn, W. et al. (2010). Nature and Nurture of the Interplay Between Personality Traits and Major Life Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99(2), 366-379.
This article focuses on the genetic (nature) and environmental (nurture) sources of the interplay between the Big Five personality traits and major life goals in tandem and across time so as to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the conflicting assumptions highlighted in the five-factor model as opposed to socioanalytic ideas. The authors accessed traits and goals twice in a five years time period involving 217 identical twin and 112 fraternal twin pairs obtained from Bielefeld Longitudinal Study of Adult Twins. About a third of the differences in agency and communication were genetic; with the remaining two thirds being from non-shared environmental influences. It was established that the influence of shared environmental factors was insignificant. The current study found partial support for the two major personality theories triggering a readjustment view of the interplay between goals and traits.
Bleidorn and others have examined different hypothesis from previous knowledge. The current study sought to test these hypotheses. First, the genetic impact on goals should be entirely accounted for by the basic tendencies; there should be no general environmental effects affecting measures of both traits and goals, since the FFT presumes personality traits are unaffected by systematic effects of the environment; and thirdly there should be genetically and environmentally coordinated effects of prior traits on subsequent goals but not vice versa.
In addition, the authors derived three more hypotheses from the conception of NST: which include; Like the FFT, the NST assumes major life goals and that the Big Five traits are critically related in meaningful ways at phenotypical level; Contrary to FFT, the NST doesn’t project significant differences between hereditability of goals and traits; Presuming goals and traits are interrelated but distinct elements of personality system, there should exist common and unique genetic effects on goals and traits; Common environmental effects must impact measures influence measures of traits and goals; The NST projects reciprocal cross time relations between traits and goals.
Data Source and Method of Collection:
Bleidorn et al got their data from the progressive Bielefeld Longitudinal Study of Adult Twins which began in 1993. The present study used data from complete twin pairs collected at the third and forth assessment waves at 5.7 years time difference. The sample included 217 monozygotic twin pairs and 112 dizygotic twin pairs.
The current study contained two variables the Big Five personality traits and communion and agency goals. The personality traits are the independent variables while communion and agency goals are dependent variables.
Method of Analysis:
Different analyses of various elements were conducted in the current study. The analysis involved calculation of the phenotypic bivariate correlations between the dual GOAL scales and each component of the NEO PI-R domains. This was followed by univariate analyses, cross sectional multivariate analyses. And longitudinal multivariate analyses.
Bleidorn et al. highlighted several major findings in their study. Some of their findings were consistent with previous studies. For instance, the importance of agentic goals was positively related to Openness, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness but was negatively associated to Agreeableness. Consequently communion goals were positively related to Openness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness.
Discussion Limitations and Direction for Future Studies
The authors provide a detailed discussion of their results. Major limitations included a moderate sample size of twins, analysis was only done on data from two points of measurement, non-shared environmental effects were assessed as residual variance and were therefore confounded with residual causes besides non-shared environmental effects comprising random error and method-defined effects and ultimately, estimates of genetic and environmental effects could have been affected by gene-environment interactions.
The authors also highlight the limitations of their study and guide future researchers on the future direction for similar study.
Bleidorn et al. provided clear conclusions regarding their current study. The aim of the study is revisited among other major aspects of the study. The authors also highlight their findings further in the conclusion.
- Bleidorn, W. et al. (2010). Nature and Nurture of the Interplay Between Personality Traits and Major Life Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99(2), 366-379.