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Personality May Influence Male Fertility

Update Date: Aug 21, 2013 02:08 PM EDT

Your personality may also affect your fertility, a new study suggests.

Using, questionnaires and birth registry data from Norway, researchers looked at how personality affects individuals' fertility.

Compared to previous generations, men with neurotic personality traits have fewer children than those who are more emotionally stable, according to the study.  However, men who are extraverted and open tend to have more children.  

However, women who rank as conscientious on personality tests tend to have fewer children.  Researchers said this finding was constant across generations.

Researchers said the latest study could have important implications for population dynamics at a time when fertility rates across developed countries have fallen to below replacement rates.

Lead researcher Vegard Skirbekk notes that the decline in childbearing among neurotic men only applies for men born after 1957. Neurotic individuals tend to be anxious, moody and emotional. Researchers said the change in these men's fertility could be due to new norms in having children.  For instance, modern couples generally test each other out more before committing to raising children together.

While the study only examines statistics in Norway, researchers said that findings may also apply to other countries.

"Norway is a leader country in terms of family dynamics," Skirbekk explained in a news release.

"Many trends that have been observed first in Norway -- increasing cohabitation, divorce rates, and later marriage, for example -- have then been observed later in many other parts of the world. Of course it remains to be seen if this phenomenon will also spread," he said.

The findings are published in the European Journal of Personality

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