Researchers at Edinburgh University claim to have found that genes play a greater role in determining key personality traits like social skills and learning ability than the way people are brought up by their parents.
For their study, the researchers analysed more than 800 sets of identical and non-identical twins to learn whether genetics or upbringing has a greater effect on how successful people are in life, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
Twins are useful in such studies because almost all twins share the same home environment as each other, but only identical twins share exactly the same genetics.
The subjects were asked a series of questions about how they perceive themselves and others, like "are you influenced by people with strong opinions?" By applying their answers to a psychological scale, the researchers assessed as well as categorised different personality traits for each person.
They found that identical twins were twice as likely as non-identical twins to share the same personality traits, suggesting that their DNA was having the greatest impact.
Genetics were most influential on people's sense of self-control and also affected their social and learning abilities and their sense of purpose, according to findings published in the 'Journal of Personality'.
Prof Timothy Bates, who led the study, said: "Previously, the role of family and the environment around the home often dominated people's ideas about what affected psychological wellbeing. However, this work highlights a much more powerful influence from genetics.
"If you think of things that people are born with you think of social status or virtuoso talent, but this is looking at what we do with what we've got. The biggest factor we found was self control.
"There was a big genetic difference in (people's ability to) restrain themselves and persist with things when they got difficult and react to challenges in a positive way."