Dr. AXxxxx: This site looks at the link between personality and genetics. Our genes make the individual that we know as “me” . Our genes make the personality that we know as “me” as well.
Kinkajou: Explain, What is an Enneagram?
Erasmus: The Enneagram is a personality model or theory. If you know the enneagram types, you can make powerful and often astonishingly accurate predictions about a person you have just met and their habits. If you can enneagram “type” someone, you know a substantial amount about their thoughts, motivations and probable actions – because you know how they think. Though a person may only be a new casual acquaintance, their behavior often follows standard models that relate to their “type” or “number”.
Essentially people with the same Enneagram number and subtype often do the same things, for the same reasons, to achieve the same ends. They think and act alike, because intrinsically they share many common behavioural traits.
It appears obvious that these behavioural traits are based on genetics. People with the same genes are likely to do the same things for the same reasons because their brain which controls their behaviour, functions according to its own “ genetic” program. In short, the genes program the neurones, which program the brain, which programs the behaviour.
By observing a person’s behavior, their dress, their social interactions, you can usually assess a person’s behavioural type. Then by using the Enneagram information, you can often predict a person’s taste in clothes, their behavioural quirks in different situations. You can predict what they are like to live with: both the good and the bad points.
You can understand how the things we say or do that irritate or please our intimates, are not “deliberate” acts on our own part or on the part of our intimates. They are largely innately “programmed” responses or reactions. They often simply reflect our own innate programmed behavior; (programmed by genetics); attitudes that we seem to have little control over. Attitudes in fact – that are largely determined by our genetics.
Happy Couple building national character.
This site looks at the link between personality and genetics. Our genes make the individual that we know as “me” . Our genes make the personality that we know as “me” as well.
It follows then that different parents will only have children with personalities dictated by the genes that they inherit. Personality is determined at conception. It follows that the genes of the parents determine the genes of the child. So if you know the genetics of the parent personality, you can “predict” the personality of the child.
Although genetics is a very powerful factor in determining personality, human beings also have their personality determined somewhat by their experiences of interacting with other personalities. However there is a catch here as well. The most common personalities in our lives are those members of our direct family, with whom we live. These personalities of course, share common genetics. The personalities of our parents and siblings become very “comfortable” to us. They will usually, at least in part, have substantial genetic overlaps with our own personalities.
The male and female of the species
is what it is all about.
Learn about New Techs in Genetics. What the human race needs to go forward. WWW.ENKtechs.COM
It follows that our future partners will often be personalities that we are comfortable with. People often pair up, because they have a matching set of personality traits with which they are comfortable. Personality has a strong genetic basis.
Personality though is of course influenced by many events we deal with in our lives and by our experience. In human beings, learning and experience is an important factor in influencing our behaviour. Human beings are capable of learning complex behavioural coping strategies from experience alone. But in every circumstance, genetics colours our thinking and our interpretation of our experiences.
It could be said that genetics sets the direction, whereas experiences fine tune the reactions.
But there is a bigger picture to see as well. If you know the genetics of the country’s people, you can predict how a country or nation will act in specific circumstances. The Culture of an entire country or nation may be the result of shared personality genes as much as shared experiences ,history or learned behaviours.
Teacher in Classroom: teaching and learning
Enneagrams are great at predicting behaviour and the responses to different situations. But the genetics of the enneagram form a simple overview of human behaviour only. There are likely many other genes, outside of the enneagram model which influence behaviour as well. For example it is well-known that people who take medications that may be used for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, experience increased drive and impulsiveness – leading to poor judgement and even activities such as gambling. , So there is an element of colour or flavour in personalities, which can be attributed to genetics outside of the enneagram model and which can be attributed to experience and learning perhaps as well.
There may be other genes involved in determining behaviour. For example the presence of high dopamine levels in the brain can predispose people to impulsive behaviour such as gambling. You would expect that this would translate into people having a lot more impulsivity and volition. Perhaps this is why some people have so much more confident speaking in public. Successful public speakers can belong to any enneagram type. So it makes sense to think that there are other genes that influence this type of behaviour.
This means that people with the same enneagram type (number) and subtype can be very different indeed. Even within such a tightly defined group – there will be people we like and people who we intensely dislike, even though there primary behavioural genes are identical.
Never forget that people are people. The enneagram types and subtypes a highly useful in interpreting and predicting people’s behaviour. But there are many other genetic and behavioural learning elements as well.
So how does experience affect our comfort with other people’s behaviour – their flavour?
Let’s use an example. At a basic level someone who has an enneagram “one” mother or father, can’t avoid picking up or learning behavioural responses that reflect their life experience in dealing with their parents. Ones are tidy. Ones are driven to be perfectionistic and careful. Ones especially like to deliver on their promises and to present a very precisionistic “face” to the world.
By growing up with a one mother or father, you cannot avoid learning the behavioural responses that make life with such a personality easier. So when we seek another partner, we are intrinsically program by genetics and experience, to be most comfortable with someone whose personality fits in with the personalities of our parents.
However in dating and meeting other people, it rapidly becomes apparent that there are pleasant “ones” and unpleasant “ones”. Same basic personality and driver is present, but there is a different overlay – in effect creating perhaps a very different experience of living with the same personality. At a most basic level – females are programmed to be a bit more cute and supportive, whereas men are programmed to be a bit more strict and commanding. As females become mothers, and grow in experience, in organising their families, they become more programmed by experience to become more strict and commanding – as a behavioural necessity for coping with “unruly” children.
Erasmus: That may be why people judge potential mates so differently. There are 9 basic Enneagram types (labeled “one” to “nine” and 3 subtypes labeled social, sexual and self-pres). This gives 27 basic “programs” for people. Add parental overlay arising from the different personality types that our prospective partner may have grown up with (mum or dad), and there begin to be a lot more flavours again. Add other genes such as dopamine genes controlling drives and impulsiveness, and we begin to see unique aspects in every person’s behaviour.
Some enneagram types are defined by a “single” genetic formula – genotype: notably the enneagram phenotype of ones, fives, and nines. There is a low amount of genotype variation in the enneagram phenotype of two, four, six, seven, and eight. There is a large amount of genotypic variation in the enneagram three type: which can make this personality shade into many of the other types. The enneagram three is the Chameleon of the behavioural world.
So, the Ennegenes theory proposed here (by Erasmus), says that even within the nine types and three subtypes, there are some different behavioural variants even within the enneagram model because each enneagram type represents a phenotype, not a genotype. Some of the enneagram types can have a number of genetic mixes creating the same overall phenotype.
And never forget there are other genes outside of the enneagram model as well as learned behaviour from unique experiences defining the personality as well.
Goo: What is your race? Does it define your personality or give you a national character flavour?
Kinkajou: So what are the Enneagram Types?
They are numbered one to nine. I’ll briefly summarize what I believe to be some of their characteristics in the Ennegenes (enneagram gene) model. Now remember, other authors may have a slightly different point of view, because my view is based on what I believe the underlying genetics of the people involved are. If you have a particular gene, you will act in a way that a particular gene will program for you.
One: Careful, neat, tidy, punctual, very well and carefully coiffured, women often small petit, strong on right and wrong: you should do ….. ; They like white
The Perfectionist One
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Two: Thinkers with a very strong forceful underlying drive or motivation to do, but tempered by a layer of preconsideration, maybe even describes as cynicism. Twos are supporters, but at a price. They can really twist your arm brutally to get what they want, and their preconsideration and thoughtfulness can tinge into sneakiness and cunning. A “two” can be the wind under your wings. If things aren’t going their way, they can clip your wings quite well also. They seem so nice. They would do “anything”” for you, but at a price. Never deny a “two”, for vengeance and retribution may swiftly follow. Still lots of men / maybe even women love the “supporter” aspect. I think my most defining moment for discovering someone being an enneagram Two, occurred at a function lunch. A young woman “Representative” with whom I was talking looked at what deserts were being served and to whom and at what rate. She immediately asked, “Would you perhaps like to have one of those deserts rather than the cheese platter which seems to be slow in coming”. She then immediately called the waiter and arranged for a change in what was being served. The assessment, consideration and sense of command – I think could only be considered as uniquely “Two-ish”.
Three: Workers, competitors, often image minded, except if self-pres. A three has gene characteristics of all the other enneagram types. So their behaviour can at times mirror that of many of the other types. They can show the cynicism of “sixes” (and “twos”). They can show a love of drama and poignant sweet pain as much as a “four”. They can have as much of a drive to perfection as a “one”. “Threes” are one of the power types of the Enneagrams. They have as much strong spirit as an “eight” but they go about it very differently. “Eights” will rush in where angels fear to tread: bulldozers.
Threes will watch, observe, become comfortable with the dynamics of a situation and then begin to power on. If they have a fault, it is the tendency to develop their views based on the views of people around them. So they may sometimes seem to have no centre, no core.
Man Busy at work. The Chinese have a reputation as workers.
An “eight” , one of the other enneagram power personalities, by contrast always seems to have a core direction set within themselves, driven by their own needs wants and desires, seemingly without reference to anyone else around them.
Four: Dramatics. Thye see life as black or white, not as shades of grey. Things are either great or awful. There is nothing in between. They have a knack for saying or doing, even when they don’t believe what they are doing. (I think this is more akin to rapidly flipping into or out of a state of belief, rather than believing or not believing what they are doing or saying).
It is nothing for a “four” to show anger and rage, and then laugh when confronted by the foolishness of what they are doing. Fours love being stroked, petted and rewarded. Recognition drives a “four” like no other force. For a teacher to say, wow, you’re really good at that, makes a “four’s” day. They rapidly begin to associate themselves with this perspective. It makes them “special”. The secret to a four is recognition and praise. Also not to lose it when they oscillate between their extremes of behaviour, to recognize that it could just all be an oscillating behavioural state – looking more like an “act” to others due to the apparent lack of long-term belief/conviction in what their behaviour and actions represent.
“Fours” have drive. They are fast deciders and fast doers. "Do it now" may well be the motto of the “four”. Once a decision is made action rapidly follows.
A unique young lady. Fours are not afraid to get out and get their hands dirty.
Five: studious thinking. Possessing the same gene to enable rapid thought, but not the gene for the drive for volition. They share many traits of the four, but not the drive to action and movement. They are not necessarily doers. They would probably be “careful but casual doers”
Fives are described as gathering knowledge.
Six: You can always recognize a six (or affiliates like “twos” and “threes”), by their sense of humour. They have a sarcastic cynical outlook. Many of the other personality types in the enneagram lack this gene and have difficulty getting this behaviour or mode of speech. To many it comes across as rude, till they get used to it. Then they realise that it’s just a way of speaking or thinking, that the individual can’t help.
“Sixes” may or may not have drive, depending on their other personality genes.
With an extra dose of the “six” gene, these people can look rather paranoid and suspicious.
Generally,they all like to know or to think about what is really going on behind the scenes. They are more interested in the “real” truth of the situation rather than just the superficial appearances and the headline news. Because of their sarcasm, which is not a common feature of many other Enneagram types, they often take a bit of getting used to. Not everyone’s cup of tea.
Cool Kats seeing something no one else can see.
Sarcasm is a language shared almost exclusively by twos, threes and sixes. Unless other enneagram types have been exposed to partners or parents with the “six” gene, the nuances of language routinely practised by sixes, will not be understood and may not even be realised to exist – by the other enneagram types. The key to much of the language of sarcasm lies in the consideration of multiple meanings – puns in language, and in the matching of possibilities suggested by language with the possibility/realities inherent in a situation. Such a capacity is unique to the “six” gene. The second key to much of the language of the six, lies in the interpretation of tonal accentuation is of language. To a “six” – no, No, NOoo, NO, na- can carry very different meanings in the context of language. Meanings which can often be exactly the opposite of what is being said. A distinction often not appreciated by many of the other enneagram types.
Seven: S evens” have a tendency to do, do it fast and do it now. They can open their mouths and say things before they have even thought of the consequences of what they have said. “Sevens” are into doing and movement. They read several books all at once. They start many jobs, often not quite finishing many. They do things fast. The best way to handle problems is to run and run fast. They can throw up a thousand ideas, but not follow the ideas through to their final conclusion and consequences. The streak of optimism can be strongly reinforced by “sexual” or especially “social” genes.
The motto of the “ seven” is “sometimes fools just rush in and get the job done”. The exact opposite of the enneagram seven is the “one”. The motto of the one is “fools rush in, where angels fear to tread”.
Beach Acrobats: just doing it
Carefree Beach Acrobat
Eight: “Eights” will rush in where angels fear to tread: bulldozers. It’s my way or the highway. The rest of you are bloody idiots. Still “eights” are capable of caring greatly for people under their wings and will protect their loved ones to the bitter end. Often when you get in trouble and even your own mother doesn’t love you anymore, your only remaining friend may well be an “eight”. “Eights” are workhorses. They see. They want. They decide and they do. They are drawn to the best and to be the best. They want to do best. There is nothing shy or coquettish about an “eight”. You can’t tell an “eight” anything, they don’t already know. Ideas do eventually seep in, but then the “eight” claims them as their own.
For women: flirty, smiling, forward and assertive.
Eights like the Biggest and the Best
Nine: Nines have fast thinking genes, but no volition genes. They consider both sides of a situation but are not driven to perform. They can argue with someone and then begin to support them if someone else wades into an argument, believing the new entrant to the social situation to be too powerful, automatically putting themselves to where the balance needs to be addressed, even though perhaps that is not in their own best self-interest.
Nine "Anger" : like a layer of ice over everything. Cool and persistent.
The best interpretation of this is that the “Nine” is interpreting many different aspects of a social situation. Too many of us, what is obvious is that the social situation is about the argument or conflict. But the nine see the interests of the people as well. The nines see the interaction of the powers of the personalities as well. The nines may see argument but they can see the long-term consequences of conflict and will often consider all these factors to generate a favourable outcome – not directly related to the focus of the social situation or argument.
Never forget however that a “nine” is not driven to compete or to interact. They may hold their opinions within themselves commonly, without inflicting them upon others. This makes them probably one of the most introspective of all the enneagram types. Something which can be very hard for many other enneagram types to deal with – as the true agenda, is not the agenda on the table.
The major point of contention between traditional enneagram personality models and the genetics enneagram theory, is the basis for the formation of personality. In the gene theory, personality is based on genes. You are what you inherit. While your experiences in life can alter how you behave, they do not form the basis of how you behave.
Kinkajou: So Human behaviour is based on the activity of pathways in the brain, in the gene theory.
Traditional enneagram theory suggests that we can learn to change our behaviours. Genetic enneagram theory suggests we can never change our tendencies, but we can learn to layer new behaviours over our tendencies to modify our behaviour.
Through experience and learning, you can learn to change your behaviour by altering the inputs to these pathways. In enneagram aware people, there is considerable emphasis on knowing yourself, realising the helpful and damaging facets of your inherent behaviour, and learning that there may be different behavioural responses which are effective in different situations.
There is another interesting aspect arising from the enneagram genetics models. The genes involved in enneagram may be said in one aspect to alter levels of chemicals within the brain. (They can also change factors such as receptor confirmation, receptor bonding, receptor affinities and downstream receptor based amplification). However at a basic level, genes suggest changes in chemicals within the brain. But consider that drugs or medications can change levels of chemicals within the brain as well.
We are not all the same.
Alternatively, medications can also substantially alter the activity of these pathways in your brain. The gene theory talks about histamine receptors and pathways, serotonin receptors and pathways, noradrenergic receptors and pathways, and finally opioid receptors and opioid pathways. Drugs which affect all of these pathways are commonplace in our society.
Antidepressants commonly affect serotonin and noradrenergic pathways. It follows that they can affect your behaviour. The taking of opioid medications, legal or illegal, can make you much more optimistic happy and accepting of things happening around you. Antihistamines are renowned for their effect on wakefulness.
So, the gene theory of enneagrams, predicts that it is in fact possible to change your behaviour and even make it look like you are altering your enneagram number through the taking of medications, for example such as antidepressants, painkillers and even other medication such as antihistamines.
This makes for a very interesting proposition. Something not much considered by doctors today. Many medications if used on a regular basis can in fact change your personality, your behaviour – and perhaps to some extent at least your enneagram type as well. Nines can become sixes with more of the drive to do of an eight. Self- pres types can become much more social. So perhaps we need not be who we are born to be, but can in fact become who we would like to be.
Kinkajou: Why does the enneagram model suggest that we can become a different personality when events such as stress or relaxation occur within our lives?
The final major input to the activity of brain pathways are events in the environment. When stressed, personalities change through a broad level of change in inputs to brain pathways. When relaxed, the activity of inputs into the same brain pathways alters, again resulting in a change in behaviour. The enneagram model is unique as a personality model in that it recognises the effects of environmental stimuli such as rest or relaxation in altering behaviour.
Training such as in relaxation techniques, or even in the opposite direction such as activation or focusing techniques, can allow you to take charge of the activities of the pathways in your brain. This can, at least for a short time, allow you to alter your enneagram number.
Happy Couple building national character.
Kinkajou: Tell me more about the genotype/ phenotype model of Enneagrams that you’ve been hinting at?
Erasmus: A genotype describes the combination of the individual genes that make up the person or personality. The phenotype is the overall impression of the type of behaviour that people display. In general many genotypes make up a single phenotype, in the enneagram. However some enneagram phenotypes are genetic homozygotes. That is, all the individuals who fall within a single enneagram phenotype having the same genotype as well. Many of the enneagram phenotypes represent genetic heterozygotes, akin to the F1 hybrid state. These enneagram phenotypes have multiple gene sets causing their particular behavioural patterns.
In general the phenotype summarises the behaviour seen in the individual or in the personality. Such a behaviour is due to the combination of genes present within the individual. The genotype describes the individual genes acting to create the individual personality.
The genotype / [phenotype model allows further predictions to be made about the behaviours that may be displayed by a particular enneagram person type and about the enneagram type of their parents.
How common each enneagram type is ,of course, depends on the relative frequencies of the relevant genes in each population.
Erasmus: A summary of Enneagram features:
- Fast personality types (in order): seven, four, three.
- Slow personality types (in order): nine, eight, one.
- Sarcastic personality types: Six, three, two
- Strong energy genes: seven, four, three.
- Strong “power” /”deciding” genes: Eight, one, three, two,
Single gene Genotype Enneagram only: Nine (double fast histamine genes), eight (double slow histamine genes), sevens (double fast noradrenaline genes). If another gene (e.g. serotonin or noradrenaline genes) to the fast histamine gene of the nine or the slow histamine gene of the eight is present, these enneagram phenotypes change to a different enneagram phenotype. If another gene to the fast noradrenaline gene of the seven is present, the seven phenotype changes to a different enneagram phenotype.
Heterozygote (at single gene site) gene genotype enneagram only: one, five, six. And enneagram six phenotype which is home of cyclist for the serotonin gene, becomes a different flavour of a six called a counter phobic six – the sense of suspicion or needing to know what is happening behind the scenes becoming almost paranoid in intensity. Any personality type with a six gene retains the six retains the six character as predominant in the phenotypic personality appearance.
Dual gene genotype enneagrams : The enneagram “two” has one or two (predominantly to) slow histamine genes in addition to one or two fast serotonin genes. The enneagram four has a single noradrenaline gene in association with one or two slow histamine genes. The presence of two noradrenaline genes confers a seven-ish phenotypic character. The phenotypic enneagram “six” can have the presence of one or two fast serotonin genes in combination with one or two fast histamine genes.
Multiple gene Genotype Enneagram: the three phenotype encompasses a range of gene combinations and a range of phenotypic personalities. Of interest is the social/sexual/self – pres accentuation which provides the most variance to this personality type almost overriding the effects of the noradrenaline/histamine/serotonin genes and how this personality appears to others.
Erasmus: Every personality type can be a disease unto itself. They just fail in different ways. “Threes” take on too much and try to do too much. “Nines” take on hardly anything at all. Both behaviors or decisions can be problems in different situations. In an organization aggressively expanding or growing, having a ” three” or an “eight” in charge can get things done. For an organization in stasis, “nines” can blend the whole together in harmony like no other, offending few and motivating many. A seven will blaze a trail boldly when no one has gone before and a trail that few others could imagine even existing.
There is no right or wrong with enneagrams. But they do behave differently. .People are not all the same. They have different abilities and knowledge and different genes. They have different personality genes. There genes define different actions in work, rest and stress. There genes define different types of activity or inactivity. And each type succeeds or fails in different ways.
There are no right genes. But there are many situations in which a particular gene or gene mix can succeed where others are much much more likely to fail. Such a comment should not really come as a surprise in the world today. Scientists can choose which athlete is most likely to succeed in a particular sport based on particular physical characteristics. Failure to have these physical characteristics makes failure in the chosen sport or activity almost certain. It should be no surprise to consider that having or not having specific mental characteristics, can make success or failure much more likely in many types of human endeavour, especially where thought or action dictated by mental proclivities is paramount.
Street Party building national character.
Kinkajou: There are lots of Personality Models besides the Enneagram. Aren’t hey just as good
Erasmus: No. the enneagram is far superior to any other model of personality out there. It is because of this superiority that we can use this model to explore he genetics applicable to human behaviour.
Alternate Personality Theories vs. the Enneagram.
- Big five personality trait model
- Briggs Myer
- The medical model
- The Paill Spectrum model ( this model focuses more on the effect of disease on human behaviour rather than looking specifically at human behaviour per se).
Street Party building national character.
Erasmus: I like the enneagram as a personality model because it works. I don’t think that there is any other personality model that can so describe a person, how they react to stress and how they react to relaxation.
The enneagram model suggests that people of any enneagram type, behave differently in circumstances of stress and differently again in circumstances of relaxation. This sort of makes sense. In stress or relaxation, our levels of brain chemicals change and it would be expected that the behaviour perceived would change also.
How a person reacts in these situations is unique, but quite predictable if the enneagram model is followed.
The medical model of personality by comparison is written by idiots for idiots. One thing it does highlight, is that the different enneagram types can often shade into behaviour that looks like one of the “personality diseases” as defined by the DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.
- Histrionic (drama Queens)
Erasmus: The DSM description does “label” people. It tells you something about what “time” has done to the patient’s brain.
Dr. Xxxxx: There are different explanations for why people’s behavior may grow into the DSM personality types, see the Paill Site. The implications of the effect of illness on behavior are not pretty.
Erasmus: Getting back to DSM and the Annaegram. The DSM description does not tell you what the normal behavior of the person should be. Behaviour that is bizarre for one personality type can be quite normal for another personality type.
Girl Parting: what's normal and what's illness?
Dr. Xxxxx: Quite true! I remember one mother who asked me whether it was normal for her child to sit in a corner and play happily by himself. I asked how his memory and language skills were. Mum said they were fine.
For a self pres, this type of behavior is quite normal. For a social this type of behavior suggests serious pathology affecting brain development. DSM makes no allowance for the effect of personality on behavior. The DSM descriptors also do not reveal any underlying truth about the motivations of the person with problem behaviour.
In contrast, the enneagram types are distinctive enough and recognizable in every person. The distinctiveness of the behaviour patterns led me to suspect that the enneagram actually describes in some fashion the contribution of DNA genes to a person’s behaviour. I.e. Each behaviour described by the enneagram describes a specific behavioural phenotype.
The descriptions the doctors use are clumsy, not relevant to normal people, do not allow predictions of other aspects of “usual” behaviour and do not recognize that behaviour can change in times of stress and relaxation.
Surfie Girl: a national flavour
A friend who has a wife, who is a sexual nine, starts to look like a self-pres six, if stressed . There is not much optimism. Just a massive list of rapidly shot out questions with a thick layer of encrusted paranoia. It happens every time she becomes substantially stressed.
- What did you do? Where did you do it?
- Why did you do it?
- Who knows?
- Who did you tell?
- Why did you tell them? Etc
I ink you can see the picture.
This site looks at the link between personality and genetics. Our genes make us the biological individual that we know as “me”. Our genes make us the personality that we know as “me” as well.
It follows then that different parents will only have children with personalities dictated by the genes that they inherit. Personality is determined at conception. Personality though is of course influenced by many events we deal with in our lives and by our experience of interacting with other personalities for example our parents. The personalities of our parents and siblings become very “comfortable” to us. It follows that our future partners will often be personalities that we are comfortable with. People often pair up because they have a matching set of personality traits with which they are comfortable. Personality has a strong genetic basis. It follows that the genes of the parents determine the genes of the child. So if you know the genetics of the parent personality, you can predict the personality of the child.
Kinkajou: So if you know the genetics of the country’s people, you can predict how a country or nation will act in specific circumstances. Culture may be the result of shared personality genes as much as shared experiences and history.
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