Behavioural genetics methods

Emily A. Willoughby, Tinca J. C. Polderman, Brian B. Boutwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The question of why people show individual differences in their behaviours and capacities has intrigued researchers for centuries. Behaviour genetics offers us various methods to address this question. The answers are interesting for a range of research fields, varying from medicine to psychology, economics and neuroscience. Starting with twin and family studies in the late 1970s, the field of behaviour genetics has rapidly developed by applying molecular genetic techniques next to, and sometimes combined with, family data. The overarching conclusion at this point in time is that all measured human traits are to some extent heritable, and that many genetic variants, with each exerting a small effect, explain this heritability. Against this backdrop, we offer readers who might be less familiar with behaviour genetics a brief Primer on the topic. Sitting atop our list of goals is to be a resource for scholars interested in applying the widely useful techniques of the field to their particular specialty, regardless of what that might be.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNature Reviews Methods Primers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2023

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