Human values are abstract goals, affecting decisions, choices and behavior (Schwartz, 1992). Despite much value research, there is a lack of research on the etiology of values, specifically potential genetic influences. We therefore reviewed all published twin studies on human values, classified as representing four higher order values across two bipolar dimensions: Self-transcendence versus Self-enhancement and Openness to change versus Conservation. Across most studies, and most values, monozygotic twins correlated more strongly than dizygotic twins, indicating genetic contribution to values. Significant heritability estimates ranged from 24.5 to 85.7%. The effects of the environment shared by family members were generally weaker. Finally, there was a contribution of the non-shared environment for all values. After discussing the implications for the neuropsychological research on values, we suggest several future research directions, which may help guide the future science of the etiology of values. We also discuss the possible discrepancy between our findings and theory and research on value socialization and discuss the interplay of genes and the environment in the development of values.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
- Human values
- Shared environment
- Twin study