In a new book likely to rekindle fierce controversy, psychologist Robert Plomin argues that genes largely shape our personalities and that the latest science is too compelling to ignore
There are few areas of science more fiercely contested than the issue of what makes us who we are. Are we products of our environments or the embodiment of our genes? Is nature the governing force behind our behaviour or is it nurture? While almost everyone agrees that it’s a mixture of both, there has been no end of disagreement about which is the dominant influence.
And it’s a disagreement that has been made yet more fraught by the political concerns that often underlie it. Traditionally, those on the left have tended to see the environment as the critical factor because it ties in with notions of egalitarianism. Thus inequalities, viewed from this perspective, are explained not by inherent differences but by social conditions.