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Heritability of Intraindividual Mean and Variability of Positive and Negative Affect: Genetic Analysis of Daily Affect Ratings Over a Month

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JournalPsychological Science
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Aug 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 11 Oct 2016
Issue number12
Volume27
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1611-1619
Early online date11/10/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Positive affect (e.g., attentiveness) and negative affect (e.g., upset) fluctuate over time. We examined genetic influences on interindividual differences in the day-to-day variability of affect (i.e., ups and downs) and in average affect over the duration of a month. Once a day, 17-year-old twins in the United Kingdom (N = 447) rated their positive and negative affect online. The mean and standard deviation of each individual’s daily ratings across the month were used as the measures of that individual’s average affect and variability of affect. Analyses revealed that the average of negative affect was significantly heritable (.53), but the average of positive affect was not; instead, the latter showed significant shared environmental influences (.42). Fluctuations across the month were significantly heritable for both negative affect (.54) and positive affect (.34). The findings support the two-factor theory of affect, which posits that positive affect is more situational and negative affect is more dispositional.

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© The Author(s) 2016

    Research areas

  • daily diary, heritability, positive and negative affect, twin study, two-factor theory

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