Friday, 9 January 2009

Who we are: Chalking it up to the blank slate, Steven Pinker

I watched a fascinating talk by Steven Pinker discussing research on how much of a role that genes play in developing our personality. He argues that in fact our genes play quite a large role and givesd examples of identical twins raised apart that in fact looked very similar and had very similar quirks and habits that seem impossible to attribute to anything but genetic predisposition in some way. 

The overarching theme is whether we start with a blank slate. From watching my young puppy it's pretty clear that she has collie eye and that it's in her genes. Why? in truth I can't prove it but her enthusiasm for work is nothing like other dogs. Even other border collies. She comes from a working farm and we encourage her enthusiasm. It could be that we've ancouraged her attention and her responses but there are some that she figured out herself in a very collie like way. 

Again another interesting philosophy. I keep reflecting on my path through life and the decisions I've made. It's becoming clearer and clearer that what I do now I did when I was very young. Obviously I've matured and gained experience but the essence of who I am, what I enjoy and what I do is still very similar. So the question for me is where did that come from and how much was I born with. 
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