Is criminal behavior the result of one’s genetic makeup – the “Bad Seed” idea– or due to environmental influences like early child abuse, neglect or poverty? What’s most influential, your biology or life circumstance? How much of our individuality is due to genetic or environmental factors? Although you share both parents’ genes equally, you might be kindred spirits with one parent, but always clashing with the other one. Maybe to your chagrin, you’ve noticed how similar you are to your parents, yet different!
I suspect you have already developed an opinion on the relationship between nature and nurture. Let’s see if your thinking is consistent with the latest scientific findings.
Below is a table that lists a number of general physical characteristics, psychological traits and behaviors, followed by a list of criminal traits and behaviors. Rate each on how much you believe it is influenced by genetics. Rate on a continuum from no influence to complete influence, or an amount in-between. For instance, you can rate each trait with a percentile such as 0%, 15 %, 50 %, etc., up to 100%, if you believe the trait is completely determined by genetics.
In the next blog, I will report the scientific findings regarding the genetic influence of traits, referred to as heritability. And no cheating! I’ll include scientific references for you to explore these issues further, if you so desire.