24
Nov
14

2:4 Linus Creel: On Genomics & Social Psych (10/13/2014)

The science of genomics is more advanced (& less predictive) than presented in “Dr. Creel.” Anyone can get a genomic profile of themselves by going to a university medical center. The government makes available info on all researched genomic features & their relationships to phenotypic features (traits, diseases, syndromes). No single researcher can develop tests alone & without access to the existing genomic analytic infrastructure. Very few psychological traits are entirely determined by a single gene & many different genes may by required to predict a trait/condition (phenotype). These are always expressed as a “percent likelihood” & are greatly dependent on the precision of the phenotypic description.

Violence has been well-studied. Genetically, one can only speak of an aggressive predisposition. Whether these can be triggered depends on things no single treating MD has control over: “parenting, environment & culture” [PFGS citation]. A genetic correlation to violence is inhibitory only, iow the LACK of a genetic ability to suppress rage/aggression, specifically: “a functional deficit of MAO-A activity” [Nature]

Metaphorically speaking, there is not a “violence gene” but rather the lack of the “peaceful default.” Even this does not override: 1) gender & 2) up-bringing. Other factors include subsequent physical trauma & personality disorders [PFGS, Nature]. Aggression is highly correlated with the Y-chromosome & testosterone (why there are so many more men in prison than women). Many studies of violent behavior don’t even include women. Upbringing โ€“ specifically, an “adverse childhood environment” โ€“ is THE most critical in whether violent behavior manifests. It is about 75% predictive [Nature]. Was Lizzie being tested? Lizzie’s home environment as first described by Red โ€“ “daughter of a career criminal & a mother who died in shame…” may hint at an adverse childhood environment โ€“ but there is no genetic test for this.

The physiognomy of the brain also is associated with aggression: people with larger amygdala (from chronic &/or acute, stress) & damaged frontal cortexes from physical trauma are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior (think: pro football). But, again, no genetic test. Lizzie IS female (unless the writers have other plans for us), though women do have some testosterone. And although she gets bounced around a lot, her frontal cortex โ€“ where scenario gaming & planning occur โ€“ seems to work just fine. I hope the plotsters don’t pursue the idea of a warrier gene to try to link her to Berlin or Red.

Nature (2007): Nature & Nurture Predispose to Violent Behavior: Serotonergic Genes & Adverse Childhood Environment http://bit.ly/1sLkThM

PFGS Regional Meeting (5/9/2013): Warrior gene… : http://bit.ly/1sUQX30

WSJ, Adrian Raines (4/26/2013): The Criminal Mind http://on.wsj.com/1re2VPP

WaPUo, Eric Voeten (2/4/2014): Are there genes that lead men to enjoy fighting? http://wapo.st/1sWkKth

Also, the burn scars on Red’s back appear to be from second & third degree burns. A normal person would have been hospitalized for weeks, undergoing painful bath therapy & skin grafts. If he skipped that, the scarring could have inhibited his mobility or not fully healed at all. Did someone else deliver Lizzie to Sam for care? It’s a miracle Lizzie only got that one burn in that odd spot โ€“ the only thing I can think of is she grabbed the doll with the melting face & the plastic burned her wrist.

[This was written soon after show but not posted.]



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