G x E = You (Nature Interacting with Nurture)

You just absolutely cannot separate the affects of genes from the affects of the environment, so all we can do is identify the resources that we have in our environments and maximize them as best we can.  

We’ve been living with a myth for about a hundred and fifty years, going back to the time of Darwin - although I’m not blaming Darwin for this.  If the blame resides anywhere it’s really with Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton.  The idea is that we think that it’s nature versus nurture, that there are genes that have all this information that want to push us in a certain direction and then there is the environment, which is nurture, which is obviously different and kind of an opposing force. It’s kind of an either/or and there are all these studies that are constantly try to figure out how much is nature and then add onto the nurture. 


Is it 60% nature, 40% nurture, depending on what trait you’re talking about?  It turns out that genes don’t work that way.  Genes are always interacting with the environment, so the new way to think about this is that it’s not nature plus nurture or nature versus nurture.  If anything it’s nature interacting with nurture if you have to use those words. So one of the phrases that scientists are using now is G times E, that is, genetics times environment as opposed to G plus E.  They call it an additive model. 

The additive model is that you have so much inborn intelligence in addition to what you get in the environment.  That would be the nature plus nurture.  The new model is you can’t separate them.  You just absolutely cannot separate the affects of genes from the affects of the environment, so all we can do is identify the resources that we have in our environments and maximize them as best we can.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

Videos
  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less