Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Heritability

  • Kate E. LynchEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_41-1

Synonyms

Definition

Heritability is the statistical metric that estimates the relative influence of genetic variation (measured as genetic variance) on phenotypic variation (phenotypic variance), relative to the influence of environmental differences (environmental variance).

Introduction

Heritability is a statistical parameter that is often used in discussions of genetic causation and the nature versus nurture debate. The heritability of a trait, represented by either H2 (for broad heritability) or h2 (for narrow heritability) is between 0 and 1. Traits with a high heritability are generally seen as genetically influenced, and those with a low heritability as environmentally caused (Lynch and Bourrat 2017).

The heritability concept most often invoked in psychological science is broad sense heritability. Broad sense heritability estimates the proportion of phenotypic variance (V P) that can be accounted for by genetic variance (V G), relative to the...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gayle Brewer
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUK