Genetics and Environment
The evolution of biology, especially genetics, has provided scientific evidence of the need for a paradigm shift when considering the variables that can contribute to the resiliency an individual may have when exposed to environmental factors. The gene DRD4 is associated with the personality trait of novelty seeking and this gene is considered an indicator of ADHD. We see numerous research studies that introduce the prevalence of ADHD-type symptoms being related to criminal behaviors.
Psychology research has limited information about scientifically based correlations between any specific environmental factor that results in criminal behavior. We often confuse correlation with causation. This means that because two things happen with one following the other, we may think one caused the other, which may or may not be true. Does thunder cause lightening, or does lightening cause thunder, or do they co-occur for some other reason? An example from human behavior is that research has shown that a large percentage of people who sexually abuse were victims of sexual abuse themselves; however, only a small percentage of individuals who are sexually abused as children will sexually abuse someone else. Confusing the distinction between these two different pieces of information, people often mistakenly believe that most children who are sexually abused will abuse, which is not accurate.
In your main post:
- Discuss if psychological character assessment should be based on the development of pathology or on the manifestation of symptoms, referencing the unit readings and other resources.
- Discuss your opinion on using genetics in a criminal case. Support your position with reputable research.