Genetic analysis of sensation seeking with an extended twin design

  • Stoel R
  • De Geus E
  • Boomsma D
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Abstract

The heritability of sensation seeking is investigated in an extended twin design, including mono- and dizygotic twins and their siblings. Besides a comparison of the phenotypic resemblance between monozygotic twins and dizygotic twins, the design allows for an explicit test of the assumption that results from twins may be generalized to the singleton population. Secondly, the design offers the opportunity to investigate to what extent the influence of common environment is the same for males and females and for twins and siblings, i.e. allowing for explicit tests of a special twin environment and of a sex-specific common environment. The results indicate that individual variation in sensation seeking is heritable, with few differences between males and females in heritability estimates for the sensation seeking dimensions. In contrast to prior studies, evidence is found for common environmental influences for thrill and adventure seeking in males, and experience seeking and boredom susceptibility in females. Evidence for a special twin environment was limited to boredom susceptibility in females.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Environmental correlation
  • Extended twin design
  • Heritability
  • Sensation seeking
  • Special twin environment

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