gene environment interactions

anonymous asked:

For the first year or so of my life I was really sick and had all kinds of problems and illnesses, this put me behind developmentally wise. I've realised I have a ton of the symptoms of adhd and I was just wondering if that could've been the cause of it or is adhd a condition that your born with?

Probably both. We’re not 100% agreed on what exactly causes ADHD, and it’s hard to say for sure whether we’re born with it or not since newborn babies don’t really do enough to be able to tell if their behaviour is typical of ADHD or not. I know some researchers are currently working on a project that aims to find very early signs of Autism and ADHD in infants. It is generally accepted though that if we’re not born with ADHD, then it’s something that happens very very early. However, research does show that ADHD is highly heritable, which is a sign that there is a strong genetic component. Most likely it’s a mix of genetics and environmental factors.

It’s possible that you had a genetic vulnerability for ADHD, and that the environmental factor of you being sick as an infant increased your chances of getting ADHD. The developmental delay this caused probably also contributed to it. DSM-V (the official diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders) mentions that infections in childhood (like encephalitis, for example) often correlate with ADHD, even if they’re not sure whether it causes it or not. 

Either way, don’t be afraid to see a psychologist about it. Being sick a lot as an infant doesn’t necessarily exclude you from having ADHD.

-Becca

anonymous asked:

What determines sexuality? Like, I'm assuming it has a basis somewhere in the brain, right?

Psychologists often debate about every observable human trait through the lens of nature vs. nurture. Most contemporary academics hold a position somewhere in between, recognizing that most traits seen in individuals are governed by both genes, environment, and the interactions between the two. Many studies have aimed to pinpoint the “cause” of homosexuality. Popular theories include a gene that influences the way hormones are produced in the body, or unique hormone balances in uterus. In general, homosexuality seems to be at least in part genetically caused, as seen through the use of twin studies. Namely, having a homosexual identical twin significantly increases the likelihood of homosexuality in the individual. Perhaps it would be useful to conceptualize the literature with the “threshold model”. We are all born with a capacity on the sexual spectrum, and our environments shape where we land on it. It also useful to note that sexuality is fluid, and can often change throughout the course of a lifetime.

charles-lemagne  asked:

I've been reviewing your blog quite extensively recently because you seem like a learned intellectual, but I was just wondering... even though you're an atheist do you still believe that many religions like Christianity can better people's personality. Even though you might consider these religions to be false do you suppose that there's some good to them as they give the believers a beneficial end goal as opposed to nihilists and those who don't see a life after death as a possibility?

I don’t think that religions like Christianity can improve people’s personality. Consider, as an example, what Ryan Bell tells NPR’s Arun Rath:

I don’t think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the most interesting thing about me.

It’s, I think, an expression of really the part of me that hasn’t changed. I’m still the same person deep down that I was before. I care about justice and equality and I want to see opportunities spread more evenly in our society. (read here)

The implication here is that religion isn’t necessary to be a decent individual. If one is kind, compassionate, etc. as a Christian, one will be kind, compassionate, etc. if and when one renounces Christianity; on the other hand, if one is unkind, lacks compassion, etc., one will be the same if and when one renounces Christianity. The development and changes of one’s personality are much too complex to attribute to religion.

There are a slew of biological and environmental factors that play a role in the development of one’s personality. Also, if one’s personality goes through some change, there is some biological or environmental influence. In fact, when realizing gene-environment interactions, both can play an active role in developing or changing an aspect of one’s personality. Religion can either help make someone aware of poverty, suffering, etc. or it can make someone wholly indifferent to such things. As a former Christian, I saw both extremes. Religion, however, isn’t required for the former. I am, as a matter of fact, more world conscious, per se, as an atheist than I was as a Christian.

Think of, for instance, the equality issues Christians either ignore or stand against. Does the average Christian, for instance, understand why women have abortions? No. Regardless, they march against abortion; some even want to make it illegal. Does the average Christian care about gay rights? Do they try to change the kind of mentality that led to the suicide of Leelah Alcorn (see here)? No. In fact, they encourage such a mentality. Never mind the struggles faced by adherents of other religions. Most Christians aren’t even aware of the Muslim genocide in Burma. In some, if not most, cases, their view is myopic and utterly devoid of an awareness and understanding of much of what’s wrong in the world. Then again, when one’s focus is on the supposed afterlife, some may reason that there’s no use in caring about such matters. This naturally leads to your next question.

In my opinion, Christianity is the ultimate form of existential nihilism. Nietzsche puts it forcefully:

It’s useful to note that Nietzsche wasn’t an existential nihilist. Consider the following:

Nietzsche himself, a radical skeptic preoccupied with language, knowledge, and truth, anticipated many of the themes of postmodernity. It’s helpful to note, then, that he believed we could—at a terrible price—eventually work through nihilism. If we survived the process of destroying all interpretations of the world, we could then perhaps discover the correct course for humankind:

I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism’s] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength. It is possible… . (Complete Works Vol. 13) (read here)

Ultimately, there isn’t good in religions like Christianity and Islam by virtue of the fact that both promise an afterlife. This life then becomes a trial run. It’s simply an exam one takes to qualify for an afterlife of rewards or one of punishment. The temporary nature of life and its contents shouldn’t disturb us to the point of nihilism. I would argue that what we value in life—our friends, families, and cherished moments—are more valuable because they’re fleeting. In an instant, a person one loves can cease to exist. All it takes is an unexpected diagnosis, a heart attack, or unfortunate accident. Since one doesn’t have infinite days with them, it’s reasonable to value the finite days one is fortunate to have with them. If, on the other hand, we had infinite time with our loved ones, appreciation wouldn’t follow. We’ll have infinitely many more moments with them—infinite hugs, kisses, laughs, and so on.

That warm embrace that one morning will redundantly occur and we’d simply have no reason to value one over the other. However, since one doesn’t remain a child forever and since one doesn’t remain a parent forever, the embrace of one’s parent is something we hold on to; that Sweet 16 dance or the escort down the aisle is something we cherish and attempt to capture in the best way possible. It’s difficult to imagine how we’d treat such moments in a life that never ends. This difficulty follows from the fact that this isn’t the sort of life we live. We live relatively short lives. Time moves with absolutely no regard for our emotions and our fears, and our desire to embrace a given experience. It is, to my mind, more beneficial to accept what’s apparent: there is no next life; you must therefore make the absolute most of the life you’re living—especially in cases where it’s within your power to do so.