Personalized media: A genetically informative investigation of individual differences in online media use

Ziada Ayorech, Sophie Von Stumm, Claire M.A. Haworth, Oliver S.P. Davis, Robert Plomin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Online media use has become an increasingly important behavioral domain over the past decade. However, studies into the etiology of individual differences in media use have focused primarily on pathological use. Here, for the first time, we test the genetic influences on online media use in a UK representative sample of 16 year old twins, who were assessed on time spent on educational (N = 2,585 twin pairs) and entertainment websites (N = 2,614 twin pairs), time spent gaming online (N = 2,635 twin pairs), and Facebook use (N = 4,333 twin pairs). Heritability was substantial for all forms of online media use, ranging from 34% for educational sites to 37% for entertainment sites and 39% for gaming. Furthermore, genetics accounted for 24% of the variance in Facebook use. Our results support an active model of the environment, where young people choose their online engagements in line with their genetic propensities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168895
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 Ayorech et al.

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