The Future of Personality Research and Applications: Some Latest Findings

  • Danilo Garcia
  • Kevin M. Cloninger
  • Nigel Lester
  • C. Robert Cloninger
Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)


Human personality, although highly complex, is crucial to understand because it is the strongest predictor of our physical, mental, and social health as well as the actual cause of most mortality and chronic disease. However, despite the fact that earlier twin studies have found that the differences between people in personality are about 50% heritable, until recently only about 1% of this heritability has been explained by specific genes. Here we briefly outline current notions about the genetics of personality and also describe recent research that used novel and innovative person-centered methods to identify nearly all the genes for human personality. This international collaboration among 27 investigators at multiple sites comprised data from the Young Finns Study in Finland with independent replications in Germany and Korea (Zwir et al., Mol Psychiatry, 2018a, 2018b). In short, these results now make it possible to understand the basic mechanisms that influence our emotions as well as the way we can self-regulate our feelings, goals, and values in order to live healthy and satisfying lives. What is even more, these results provide a foundation for a thorough understanding of the complex molecular and brain processes that regulate human health and well-being. In this line, we also present preliminary results of a recent pilot study, in which interventions targeting character development among Swedish young adults suggest improvements in well-being after 6 months of well-being coaching. Importantly, it is argued that character regulates the expression of temperament predispositions, so character is the regulator of well-being regardless of underlying temperament. That is, since we are body, mind, and psyche at once (i.e., biopsychosocial in nature), the person needs to learn to both know and understand her temperament and her character to integrate them in order to adapt intelligently to who she is and the changing circumstances in the world around her.


Anthropedia well-being training Character Coaching Genetics Personality Person-centered methods Temperament 



The authors are especially grateful to Peter Ratcovich and FINSAM ( for the grant that allowed us to conduct the project “Rehabilitation through Cultural Activities and Person-Centered Well-Being Coaching.” We direct our gratitude also to Anna Andersson, project leader, for facilitating the data collection and to Erik Lindskär for his assistance with data collection and the preliminary analysis for Fig. 4a, b.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danilo Garcia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kevin M. Cloninger
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nigel Lester
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • C. Robert Cloninger
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Blekinge Center for Competence, Region BlekingeKarlskronaSweden
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Anthropedia FoundationSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryCenter for Well-Being, Washington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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