Are We Hardwired?: The Role of Genes in Human Behavior
Books such as Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene have aroused fierce controversy by arguing for the powerful influence of genes on human behavior. But are we entirely at the mercy of our chromosomes? In Are We Hardwired?, scientists William R. Clark and Michael Grunstein say the answer is both yes--and no.
The power and fascination of Are We Hardwired? lie in their explanation of that deceptively simple answer. Using eye-opening examples of genetically identical twins who, though raised in different families, have had remarkably parallel lives, the authors show that indeed roughly half of human behavior can be accounted for by DNA. But the picture is quite complicated. Clark and Grunstein take us on a tour of modern genetics and behavioral science, revealing that few elements of behavior depend upon a single gene; complexes of genes, often across chromosomes, drive most of our heredity-based actions. To illustrate this point, they examine the genetic basis, and quirks, of individual behavioral traits--including aggression, sexuality, mental function, eating disorders, alcoholism, and drug abuse. They show that genes and environment are not opposing forces; heredity shapes how we interpret our surroundings, which in turn changes the very structure of our brain. Clearly we are not simply puppets of either influence. Perhaps most interesting, the book suggests that the source of our ability to choose, to act unexpectedly, may lie in the chaos principle: the most minute differences during activation of a single neuron may lead to utterly unpredictable actions.
This masterful account of the nature-nurture controversy--at once provocative and informative--answers some of our oldest questions in unexpected new ways
What people are saying - Write a review
Are we hardwired?: the role of genes in human behaviorUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
The pendulum of scientific opinion has swayed over the "nature vs. nurture" issue back and forth several times throughout the last century. Now, with the human genome mapped and new clues being found ... Read full review
The Evolutionary Origins of Behavior
The Nose Knows
11 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
ability activity addiction aggressive behavior alcohol alleles alter animals Aplysia biological body brain breeding calmodulin chemical chromosome circadian rhythms cocaine complex component correlation cycle depression detect dizygotic twins DNA markers dopamine Drosophila drugs dunce effect elegans encoding environment environmental eugenics experience factor female genes involved genetic basis genotype heritable homosexuality hormones human behavior human genome identified implicit memory individuals inheritance interact interneurons IQ_tests knockout leptin levels light major male mammals mating mental function mice molecular monozygotic twins mouse multicellular mutations nerve cells nervous system Neurospora neurotransmitter norepinephrine normal obesity opiates opioid organisms paramecia pathways percent phenotype pheromones Pima possible protein protists rats receptor region regulating release reproductive response role selected sensory neurons serotonin sexual signal single gene species studies substance abuse synaptic testosterone tests tion traits twin studies twins reared underlying variability variation vomeronasal vomeronasal organ worms X chromosome