165 | Kathryn Paige Harden on Genetics, Luck, and Fairness

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It's pretty clear that our genes affect, though they don't completely determine, who we grow up to be; children’s physical and mental characteristics are not completely unrelated to those of their parents. But this relationship has been widely abused throughout history to underwrite racist and sexist ideas. So there has been a counter-reaction in the direction of removing any consideration of genetic heritage from how we understand people. Kathryn Paige Harden argues in favor of a more nuanced view: DNA does matter, we can clearly measure some of its effects, and understanding those effects is a crucial tool in fighting discrimination and making the world a more equitable place.

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Kathryn Paige Harden received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Virginia. She is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the leader of the Developmental Behavior Genetics Lab and co-director of the Texas Twin Project. She was the recipient of the Award for Distinguished Scientific Early Career Contributions to Psychology from the American Psychological Association. Her new book is The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality.

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