Genetics of Human Mentality

Genetics of Human Mentality

Genetics of Human Mentality

Genetics of Human Mentality

Synopsis

This book maintains that the influence of genetic factors on human mentality has been neglected for many years in the study of intelligence. Karlsson contends that the evidence for biological influences on human intelligence is too compelling to be ignored any longer. With a positive view of such factors, he believes that ways can be found to test and measure their importance. The research reported in this book suggests some approaches that should be extremely useful.

Excerpt

After completing my scientific training, first in genetics and then in medicine, at the University of California more than 30 years ago I soon became involved in studies of human mental development. In those days it was my perception that an effective approach to the genetics of mentality could be built around studies of serious brain abnormalities, and as a practitioner I had been exposed to various syndromes associated with severe mental defect. Marginal subnormality, seen in physically healthy and normalappearing individuals, similarly seemed intriguing as a starting point for research. Little of value actually came of my early biochemically oriented studies of mentally defective individuals, which soon were terminated.

My subsequent demographic work on the genetic aspects of mental disease, starting over 25 years ago, proved more fruitful. This was a fertile field that I could almost have to myself, since few investigators have in recent times been inclined to enter into the collection of data on families with psychiatric disease. When the idea surfaced that psychosis probably has a genetic bond to creativity, the research took on a new dimension. Here was after all a genetic abnormality that seemed connected with favorable mental traits. Soon it became apparent that parallel possibilities existed in relation to other frequently occurring disorders, such as alcoholism, myopia, diabetes, allergy, or gout.

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