A new baby is often welcomed with speculation about whether they got their eyes and nose from mom or dad, but researchers say it may be possible for children to inherit their parents’ moral characteristics, as well.
The researchers found that while parents can help encourage their children to develop into responsible, conscientious adults, there is an underlying genetic factor that influences these traits, as well.
Amanda Ramos, Training Interdisciplinary Educational Scientists fellow at Penn State, said she hopes the study can help start a conversation about how and why these characteristics — referred to as “virtuous character” — develop.
The researchers used data from 720 pairs of siblings — including identical and fraternal twins, full siblings in divorced and non-divorced families, half siblings, and unrelated siblings — and their parents.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that while positive parenting was associated with their children being more responsible and conscientious, those associations were stronger in siblings that were more closely related.
Ramos said that because of the similarity of the siblings, the results suggest that the traits are partially genetic.
“Essentially, we found that both genetics and parenting have an effect on these characteristics,” Ramos said.
Read full, original post: Some personal beliefs and morals may stem from genetics