Genetic and environmental structure of altruism characterized by recipients in relation to personality

Juko Ando, Tetsuya Kawamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Altruism is a form of prosocial behavior with the goal of increasing the fitness of another individual as a recipient while reducing the fitness of the actor. Although there are many studies on its heterogeneity, only a few behavioral genetic studies have been conducted to examine different recipient types: family members favored by kin selection, the dynamic network of friends and acquaintances as direct reciprocity, and strangers as indirect reciprocity. Materials and Methods: This study investigated the genetic and environmental structure of altruism with reference to recipient types measured by the self-report altruism scale distinguished by the recipient (the SRAS-DR) and examine the relationship to personality dimensions measured by the NEO-FFI with a sample of 461 adult Japanese twin pairs. Results: The present study shows that there is a single common factor of altruism: additive genetic effects explain 51% of altruism without a shared environmental contribution. The genetic contribution of this single common factor is explained by the genetic factors of neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness to experience (O), and conscientiousness (C), as well as a common genetic factor specific to altruism. Only altruism toward strangers is affected by shared environmental factors. Conclusions: Different types of altruistic personality are constructed by specific combinational profiles of general personality traits such as the Big Five as well as a genetic factor specific to altruism in each specific way.

Original languageEnglish
Article number593
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Volume57
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Direct and indirect reciprocity
  • Genetics
  • Kin selection
  • Twin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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