DNA and Destiny: Nature and Nurture in Human Behavior

By R. Grant Steen | Go to book overview

6
New Improvements in the Old
Tools

The inheritance of behavior has been a subject of debate for many generations, but it is only very recently that the debate became grounded in observation and experiment. Prior to the use of the new tools of molecular biology, the debate about nature and nurture created much more heat than light. But the recent advances in molecular genetics, described briefly in the previous chapter, have now made it possible to address objectively questions that interest virtually everyone. In fact, some of the more pressing questions have even been given a satisfactory answer. This is not to say that any single question has been definitively answered; quite likely it will take another generation to really settle some issues. But scientists have made some real progress.

At the same time that molecular biology was blossoming as an approach to behavioral genetics, there were also some striking advances in the other tools used to study behavioral genetics. Some of these tools have been used for many years, but there have been cumulative improvements that now make the old tools new again. In fact, several of the old tools have improved so much that it is appropriate to think of them as essentially new tools.


Modern Psychological Testing Tools

The greatest weakness of psychology, and consequently also of behavioral genetics, has been the psychological testing tools

-79-

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DNA and Destiny: Nature and Nurture in Human Behavior
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • 1 - Genes and Human Behavior 1
  • 2 - The Old Nature Versus Nurture Debate 21
  • 3 - The Dark History of Eugenics 33
  • 4 - The Nature of Nurture Defining Environmental Influences 49
  • 5 - New Tools for an Old Problem 63
  • 6 - New Improvements in the Old Tools 79
  • 7 - The Inheritance of Disease a Paradigm for the Inheritance of Behavior? 93
  • 8 - Intelligence 113
  • 9 - Mental Disorders 137
  • 10 - Personality Traits 161
  • 11 - Sexual Orientation 185
  • 12 - Alcoholism and Addictive Behavior 203
  • 13 - Crime and Violence 217
  • 14 - Sex, Genes, and Testosterone 239
  • 15 - Biology and Social Responsibility 261
  • Epilogue 279
  • References 283
  • Index 293
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