Forensic Psychology

Causes of Antisocial Traits

Is there an interaction between neurobiology and environment?

Current research shows that nature (genes and biology) and nurture (environment) interact throughout life. Our genes prime us toward certain personality traits and psychological abilities (for example, intelligence, verbal skills, risk tolerance). In effect, our genes set the parameters, or the outer limits, of our mental capacities. Our environment then determines whether we will meet our potential or fall below it. Our environment also tells us what kinds of behaviors are socially acceptable and likely to be rewarded or punished. Moreover, when both genetic/biological and environmental risk factors are present, antisocial traits are significantly amplified. For example, children with both biological vulnerabilities and high-risk environments show much more severe antisocial traits than children with either biological or environmental vulnerabilities alone.


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