Furthest Right

Anti-Social Behavior is Inherited Not Mis-Nurtured

The researchers studied 533 children who were genetically related to the mother that carried them and 195 who resulted from egg donations and thus were not genetically related to the mother.

“What we have been able to confirm is that cigarette smoke in pregnancy does lower birth weight regardless of whether the mother and child are genetically related or not,” Thapar said.

However, that was not the case with anti-social behavior in children, such as temper tantrums, fighting, bullying and disobedience.

They found that smoking during pregnancy was associated with higher levels of anti-social behavior in children who were genetically related to their mothers, but not in children of unrelated mothers.

“It is now clear that offspring anti-social behavior is more dependent on inherited factors passed from mother to child, as our group of children with mothers who smoked during pregnancy with no direct genetic link showed no increased signs of anti-social behavior,” Thapar said.


The nature or nurture debate comes up again, and as all the credible evidence shows, nature wins out over nurture. But that was Charles Darwin’s point, wasn’t it — that traits we have existed because they were passed on by successful breeders, and that all traits succumb to this, and this is how evolution happens.

But that doesn’t fit with our human pretense, where we like to assume we created ourselves and everything we do is intentional. We like that idea because otherwise, we have to admit how frail and un-independent we are, and that opens the door to thinking about mortality, possibilities of failure and deep inner misery.

Better to be truthful from the outset instead of wasting time in pretense, which just creates taboo territory from which we try to discipline our thoughts.

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