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Meet the parents

Ever thought you were turning into your parents? Now it seems, it’s true. Research from the University of New England has found there is a 40 per cent chance it could be happening to you. Psychologist John Malouff and a team of researchers aggregated the results of hundreds of studies and found that 41 per cent of human behaviour – good or bad – could be accounted for by genetics. “While there had been many studies done on specific behaviours such as alcoholism or smoking, we were interested to see if we could put a figure on the genetic influence on behaviour in general,” Malouff said. “We looked at a whole range of normal and problem behaviours, and what we found was that again and again, the genetic component of these behaviours tended to clump around the 40 per cent mark. “If you look at what we know about what causes behaviour, it’s hard to find another chunk so large. While a short-term situation may have a strong influence on behaviour, in the long run genes are very important,” Malouff said. He hastened to add that genes were “not destiny”. “People need to keep working on their bad habits or behaviours if they want to change them, especially if they are predisposed to continue them.”

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