If you smash your fist into someone’s body are you being aggressive and anti-social, or are you just doing what your genes programme you to do? The idea of genes affecting behaviour isn’t new and isn’t disputed, but the use of certain genes as a mitigating factor in criminal behaviour is a contentious issue. Genes have been used as part of the defence in cases of murder, and moral and ethical arguments around this use have focused on the low validity of the research evidence plus the generally accepted concepts of free will and personal responsibility. The argument has been taken a stage further now as a convicted murderer in Italy has had his sentence reduced partly because of his history of psychiatric illness and also partly because his genome includes five genes known to be associated with violent behaviour. One of these genes is a variant of MAOA, which codes for an enzyme which breaks down amines in the brain, and this low-activity variant correlates in research findings with violence and aggression, giving it its nickname the “warrior” gene. However, as we all know, correlations are not necessarily causal; and then there is the responsibility debate. So, what would you decide if you were on the jury, the defendant was clearly guilty of murder, but also had a gene profile predisposing him or her to violence and aggression?
A Level A Level Psychology assessment authors Back to school Ben Crystal book list book recommendations children's authors children's books children's dictionaries children's fiction classroom closing the word gap comprehension COVID-19 CPD critical thinking curriculum david crystal definitions Dictionaries dictionary Digital drama ed-tech Education english ethics exam preparation exams false friends GCSE guided reading history History teacher home learning independent reading Jill Carter knowledge questions KS1 KS2 KS3 language learning literacy Mastery mathematics maths maths education maths mastery media memory mental health methodology MFL MFL Teachers natural sciences non-fiction numicon Ofsted perspectives Phonics post-sats primary primary maths psychology reading reading for pleasure reading list Rebecca Priest remote learning revision Sam Holyman science secondary secondary education shakespeare Shakespeare400 shared knowledge student wellbeing teaching teaching ideas Teaching Strategies teaching tips technology TOK emotion TOK intuition TOK language TOK reason TOK sense perception transition truth Vocabulary vocabulary building wellbeing Word Gap words world book day writing