Why some people make stupid choices? Genetics may hold the answer


The premise of the Darwin Awards, [which are annually given to those who “improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it”,] is that common sense is heritable. In other words, we pass it on to our kids. But do we?

Genetics influence all these things. In fact the first law of behavior genetics, says Stuart Ritchie, who recently wrote a book on the scientific study of intelligence, is that “all human psychological traits are partly heritable.”

For instance, risky behavior…is partly genetic. An identical and fraternal twin study published in Behavior Genetics suggests that 60 percent of differences in men’s desire for new, unusual, and risky experiences (“sensation seeking”) is heritable.

Because so many genes make up a given polygenic trait, however, the precise genetic equation of common sense and other characteristics is unknown…Another way genetics may affect common sense is through our environment.

For example, a study published in Emotion, Space, and Society explains that environmental factors can “change the way DNA is folded,” thereby affecting traits such as mood regulation and impulse control.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Is Common Sense Genetic?

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia.

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