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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Has Behavior Genetics Shaped Up?

APA

Do you know about the power struggles that have happened in the field of behavior genetics? I sure didn’t. I thought that these struggles must have been pretty exciting after reading Erin E. Young’s review of Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics by Aaron Panofsky. I wish Young had provided examples and named names when describing a field that “sometimes looks more like the Wild West than a group of ivory tower-dwelling academics” (para. 2).

The only example that came to mind for me was the issue of racial differences in intelligence. That controversy involved not only scholarly articles and books, but personal and physical attacks. I would expect Panofsky’s book to detail this and other examples of misbehavior.

But hasn’t the nature-nurture issue settled down in large part due to the Minnesota twin studies (see https://mctfr.psych.umn.edu)? We know that genetics is a significant determinant of who we are, and we can, to some extent, say how much it influences various traits and behaviors. Perhaps more well-informed readers can tell us how or whether behavior genetics has shaped up.

Read the Review
ReviewNo One Wins and Everyone Loses: Power Struggles in Shaping Behavioral Genetics
By Erin E. Young
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(27)

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Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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