I wouldn't qualify the following study as new exactly, as it was published in 1986, but it still makes for an interesting read.


The main finding is:

"Among traits found most strongly determined by heredity were leadership and, surprisingly, traditionalism or obedience to authority. ''One would not expect the tendency to believe in traditional values and the strict enforcement of rules to be more an inherited than learned trait,'' said David Lykken, a psychologist in the Minnesota project. ''But we found that, in some mysterious way, it is one of traits with the strongest genetic influence.''

Other traits that the study concludes were more than 50 percent determined by heredity included a sense of well-being and zest for life; alienation; vulnerability or resistance to stress, and fearfulness or risk-seeking. Another highly inherited trait, though one not commonly thought of as part of personality, was the capacity for becoming rapt in an aesthetic experience, such as a concert.
The need for personal intimacy appeared the least determined by heredity among the traits tested; about two-thirds of that tendency was found to depend on experience. People high in this trait have a strong desire for emotionally intense realtionships; those low in the trait tend to be loners who keep their troubles to themselves.

''This is one trait that can be greatly strengthened by the quality of interactions in a family,'' Dr. Lykken said. ''The more physical and emotional intimacy, the more likely this trait will be developed in children, and those children with the strongest inherited tendency will have the greatest need for social closeness as adults.''