Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and experiences of another individual from their perspective. This personality trait improves relationships, both professional and personal. An internal study carried out by Google, called project Aristotle, to identify what makes some of its teams successful, showed that the most successful teams included people who could read emotions based on non-verbal cues. Individuals with certain genetic types are more likely to be empathetic and exhibit characteristics such as being a good listener, understanding another person’s point of view, identifying positive and negative vibes, and finding social situations draining.
Leadership is the ability to inspire others to perform well and to take swift and decisive action. According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review by Sorcher and Brant, leadership is hardwired in people before they reach early or mid-twenties. Good leadership skills help negotiate and communicate with people, providing the initiative to reach goals. Individuals with certain genetic types are more likely to have leadership qualities and may exhibit characteristics such as the ability to take swift decisions, hold a group together, being self-confident, being inspirational, looking after the needs of the group, and proactive when faced with problems.
Openness to different experiences is one of the big five personality traits. A study conducted over five years among employees in an Australian company found that people who scored high on openness to experience had a higher likelihood of moving up into managerial positions. People who scored low on openness tend to stay within familiar surroundings, taking refuge in situations they are accustomed to. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being open to experiences and may exhibit characteristics such as active imagination, curiosity on an intellectual level, and aesthetic sensitivity.
Extraversion is an indication of how social an individual is; they are usually the life of the party and are full of energy. According to psychologist Carl Jung, who coined the term extraversion, extroverts direct their energy outwards and seek excitement or stimulus from the outside environment. Many studies point out that extroverts enjoy better social relationships and are better at finding new jobs or getting promoted. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being extroverts and may exhibit characteristics such as thriving better in the company of others, being drawn to crowds, being lively and outspoken, and highly opinionated.
Agreeableness is a personality trait associated with pro-social behavior, like willingness to help and aim to please others. People with this trait work well in a team and will try and find amicable solutions in times of conflict. It is one of the big five personality traits. In a series of experiments conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois, the researchers found that people who were agreeable lead happier lives. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being agreeable and may exhibit characteristics such as trusting others easily, feeling a sense of reward after helping others, sincerity, straightforwardness, reliability, and trustworthiness.
Conscientiousness is one of the big five personality traits. It is often associated with being vigilant or careful. According to Business Insider columnist Drake Baer, being conscientious paves the way for consistent success. Many research studies associate this personality trait with success since being punctual, acknowledging co-workers' needs, and sticking to deadlines are sought after qualities. Research studies have also shown that individuals with this trait generally tend to be healthy and live longer than others. Individuals with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being conscientious and may exhibit characteristics such as being punctual, self-disciplined, neat, careful, workaholics.
Almost all of us go through stressful periods from time to time. COMT gene partly contributes to how we respond to stress. This gene codes for enzymes that help break down various chemicals in the brain responsible for our emotional well-being. There are two types of COMT gene. The "Warrior" type breaks down these chemicals quickly. Individuals who have this type are associated with better processing of aversive stimuli and are, therefore, considered to be warriors. Evolutionarily, such individuals may have been able to remain useful in a threatening environment where maximal performance may have been required despite pain and threat.
Exploratory behavior is an initiative taken to find out more about the individual's environment. Exploration dominates other personalities for the first nine months of life. This trait, along with curiosity, is important to a child's development. In any new experience that appears to be outside of what one is familiar with, the brain is trained to overcome uncertainty. People who are exploratory in nature overcome uncertainty easily and orient to any kind of environment. Individuals with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of having exploratory behavior and may exhibit characteristics such as inquisitiveness, motivation, self-belief, adaptability.
Creativity is the use of imagination or ideas to create something new and different. It is associated with inventiveness. A creativity study carried out by Adobe in 2012 showed that 8 out of 10 people thought that unlocking creativity was important for economic growth, 2/3rd felt that creativity was essential for social good, and only one out 4 thought that they used their creative potential to the fullest. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being creative and may exhibit characteristics such as aesthetic inclination, divergent thinking, independent behavior, openness to new ideas, inquisitiveness, and willingness to undertake challenges.
Entrepreneurship involves designing, launching, and running a business. It also entails managing uncertainties and bearing risks. Entrepreneurship potential is a key factor that determines your chances of self-employment. Studies have shown that 30 to 35% of the entrepreneurial traits are heritable. Though this implies that environmental factors contribute to the rest of the major 70%, 1/3rd of the fraction is a significant number. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being entrepreneurs and may exhibit characteristics such as being motivated, effective at planning, self-belief, and taking calculated risks.
Anger can be an intense emotional response to stimuli. In a large study conducted by researchers from The University of Massachusetts to identify proneness to anger, people with angry reaction were considered to be individuals who reflected frustration in response to criticism or mistreatment. They agreed with statements such as "I get angry when I am slowed down by others' mistakes, I feel annoyed when I am not given recognition for doing good work, It makes me furious when I am criticized in front of others, and I feel infuriated when I do a good job and get a poor evaluation"
Optimism is the expectation of a positive or favorable outcome for a specific endeavor. Research shows that optimism is linked with good outcomes like higher life expectancy, better recovery rates, and better success at work. People with this trait are shown to have reduced levels of stress and tend to live longer. About 50% of optimism is heritable, 40% depends on how you decide to steer your life, and 10% depends on the people around you. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being optimistic and may exhibit characteristics such as being happy and content, quicker to forgive, less stressed, grateful and altruistic.
Self-esteem is a reflection of an individual's sense of self-worth. This sense of worth is integral to a person's identity. People with this personality trait will take better care of themselves and will take decisions that will enhance them rather than break them. It has been shown that employees who have a better sense of self-worth can focus better, require less time off, and get along better with their team members. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of having better self-esteem and may exhibit characteristics such as being appreciative, encouraging, positive, accepting of other people, assertive, and helpful.
Memory is the ability to store information and to retrieve it when required. There are three major processes involved in memory, namely encoding, storage, and retrieval. A good memory can be a great asset and can help in daily life, in school, or at work. Everyday events of life influence one's memory power. A study suggests that genetics can be responsible for some of the differences in memory between individuals. People with certain genetic types are more likely to have better memory and may exhibit characteristics such as rapid recall of events, better at remembering names, more adept at learning new skills/language.
Impulsivity is to act with little or minimal forethought or consideration of the consequences of the act. While some people are impulsive by nature, it could be a sign of an underlying disorder for many others. Some risk factors for impulsive behavior are bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance abuse, and brain injuries. The HTR2A gene, also known as the 'impulsivity gene,' is closely associated with the condition. Individuals with certain genetic types are more likely to be impulsive and may exhibit characteristics such as taking risky decisions and being unmindful of reactions.
Subjective well being, the scientific term for happiness, is a measure of relative life satisfaction. Income, socioeconomic status, marriage, education, and religious factors are significantly associated with an individual's happiness; however, these factors are associated with only 3% of the variance of happiness between different individuals. 33% of the variance in life satisfaction is attributed to genetic variation. SLC6A4 is a gene involved in the uptake of the 'happy hormone' serotonin. When this gene doesn't function properly, it affects the levels of serotonin hormones and can put you at an increased risk of emotional ailments like depression and anxiety.
Intelligence is based on both genetic and environmental factors. A long-term study has pointed to a link between breastfeeding and intelligence. Children who are breastfed are associated with better IQ, probably due to fatty acids present in breast milk. The long polyunsaturated fatty acids have been considered a key explanation for neurodevelopmental benefits. Genetic studies have shown that the association between breastfeeding and IQ may be regulated by the FADS2 gene. FADS2 gene metabolizes the fatty acids, which influence how well they're processed. Individuals with certain genetic types absorb fatty acids better and are more likely to have higher IQ upon breastfeeding.
Circadian rhythm is a natural process that governs most of the biological functions in human beings. Our innate preference for mornings or evenings is influenced, in part, by genetics. A study by the University of Toronto showed that morning people were more likely to be happier due to their exposure to morning light and their ability to cope with a 9 to 5 job. Many studies have shown that morning people are more focused, proactive, kind, persistent, agreeable, and plan for their future better. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being a morning person.
Circadian rhythm is a natural process that governs most of the biological functions in human beings. Our innate preference for mornings or evenings is influenced, in part, by genetics. Night owls stay up late at night and are more active during the second half of the day. Research suggests that night people are likely to be more creative and mentally alert when compared to morning people, but they tend to procrastinate more. A number of studies report that night owls are a little more vulnerable to substance abuse. People of certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being a night owl.
Sleep is a significant aspect of our existence, changing the state of consciousness for nearly one-third of our lives. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of health problems, from mood changes to a weakened immune system. Sleep deprivation is common with aging and other health conditions like depression and Alzheimer's. Studies have attributed a 40% variation in sleep duration to genetics. The CLOCK gene encodes a protein that plays an important role in regulating the circadian rhythm. People with certain types of the CLOCK gene have a higher tendency for longer sleep duration.
Deep sleep is also known as delta sleep and is the third stage of the Non-REM cycle. It is considered to be the restorative phase of sleep. During this stage, the human growth hormone gets released; it restores your body from the physical stresses of the day and refreshes your immune system and brain. The CLOCK gene encodes a protein that plays an important role in generating the circadian rhythm. Some functional studies also show that the CLOCK gene is involved in sleep regulation. People with certain types of the CLOCK gene have a higher tendency for longer sleep duration.
Scientists have used some steering wheel tests along with brain scans to establish that a person's DNA can influence his/her driving skills. BDNF gene encodes a protein that is found in the brain and spinal cord. These proteins support a strong memory by communicating among the brain cells. While engaging in a task, BDNF is employed to enable an individual to respond to the activity. Studies have shown that driving skills may also be associated with the type of BDNF gene that an individual has. While driving a car is an acquired skill for everyone, people with certain genetic types may take longer to learn.
Mathematical ability is a complex trait that includes neurological as well as cognitive development along with optimal training. It has a polygenic heritability, which means many genes influence the development of this trait. A lot of previous studies report several genes to be associated with mathematical ability, but only one gene, SPOCK1, has been studied at a genome-wide association level. Individuals with certain genetic types have been shown to have better math ability than others and may exhibit characteristics like inclination towards math problems, analytical thinking, keenness to solve complex problems, and fluency with numbers.
Perceptual speed is the ability to compare letters, objects, or patterns quickly. This ability also includes recalling a previously seen object to compare it with the presently showcased one. Dopamine is a hormone that plays several important roles in the brain. Changes in this hormone's receptor can influence perceptual speed and ability. Individuals with certain types of the DRD2 gene (encodes proteins that form dopamine receptors) are more likely to have higher perceptual speed. They may exhibit characteristics such as being quick at recognizing patterns, spotting intricate differences, ability to focus well, and rapidly process information.
Reaction time is the time from when a stimulus is presented to an individual and the initiation of a motor response. It is a measure of how fast the individual can carry out the mental operative. Some genes, like ATXN2, CYP2DG, APBA1, and CADM2, are involved in cognitive development and can influence an individual's reaction time. They've also been associated with intracranial volume (volume of the brain and cerebrospinal fluid) and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. People with certain genetic types are more likely to have better reaction time and may quickly respond to stimuli.
Verbal reasoning is the capacity to understand concepts using words, while numerical reasoning is the ability to comprehend facts and figures. This trait is also associated with the educational attainment of an individual. A study conducted revealed around 150 different variants across 17 different genes associated with verbal numerical reasoning. The strongest association was observed in 3 genes, namely, CYP2D6, NADH, and SEPT3. The study also identified the proportion of variance in verbal–numerical reasoning explained by all common genetic variants to be 3.1% People of certain genetic types are more likely to have better verbal numerical reasoning.
Reading ability is the skill required to understand written text and is usually encouraged during early schooling. This skill is critical to development, with competency in this skill associated with better educational attainment. ROBO1 is a gene responsible for the development of a nerve cell, axon, in the central nervous system. This gene has been implicated in conditions like dyslexia. It also plays a role in influencing the reading ability of an individual. People with certain genetic types are more likely to have a better reading ability and may exhibit characteristics such as rapid reading skills, fluency, and better recall of text.
Educational attainment is the number of years of schooling completed. It is influenced by many social and environmental factors. 20% of the variance seen in education attainment, however, is attributed to genetics. Numerous studies have shown that educational attainment and cognitive performance are correlated and associated, in part, with genetic variants. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) revealed around seventy five regions across several genes that influence an individual's highest level of qualification. People with certain genetic types are more likely to have better educational attainment and may spend a number of years in educational pursuits.
Anger is a complex trait that encompasses hostility, irritability, and aggressive behavior. Extreme anger can affect the quality of life and relationships. Among children, this trait is measured in terms of the Child Behavior Checklist Dysregulation Profile. 67% of the variance in anger temperament is due to genetics. People with certain genetic types are more likely to have higher anger measures. In a large study conducted by researchers from The University of Massachusetts to identify proneness to anger, people with angry temperament were considered to be individuals with a propensity to express anger frequently, with little or no provocation.