In celebrity psychologist Oliver James’s neo-Freudian world as outlined in his new book, Not In Your Genes, DNA has no effect on the mind or mental health, whereas parenting reigns supreme. His theory, largely derived from his experience as a psychotherapist, is that interactions between parents and children…leave deep impressions, fully explaining why children become similar to their parents.
But anecdotes are not data…[and the] rest of his book is an all-out assault on genetic research…[D]ecades of research provide ample evidence of the genetic influence on psychological traits like intelligence, personality, and mental illness. James disagrees, bending over backwards to avoid awkward conclusions….
Basic statistics tells us that, to find small effects, you need a lot of people in your study. Unfortunately, James doesn’t understand this…Time and time again, he argues that because geneticists have so far only identified a fraction of the genes responsible for the variation in a particular trait, the trait has no genetic basis worth mentioning.
…[But as] study sample sizes have increased, more and more of the genetic variants linked to conditions like schizophrenia have been found. There is no reason to think this trend won’t continue.
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