Nature versus Nurture: What Shapes Us?


Let’s talk about nature and nurture with renowned geneticist and psychologist Robert Plomin. He’s a is Professor of Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. He received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, followed by academic positions at the University of Colorado and The Pennsylvania State University. In 1994, he moved to the UK.

He has published more than 900 papers and is the author of the major textbook in the field as well as a dozen other books. He has received lifetime research achievement awards from all the major societies in the behavioral sciences (Behavior Genetics Association, American Psychological Association, Association of Psychological Science, British Psychological Society, Society for Research in Child Development, International Society for Intelligence Research), as well as being made Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, British Academy, American Academy of Political and Social Science, and Academy of Medical Sciences (UK). In 2021, he received the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. In 2023, he became Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition for services to Research and the Scientific Community.

After 50 years of research, he has come to the view that inherited DNA differences are the major systematic force that makes us who we are as individuals – our mental health and illness, our personality and our cognitive abilities and disabilities. The environment is important, but it works completely different from the way we thought it worked. The DNA revolution has made it possible to use DNA to predict our psychological problems and promise from birth. These advances in genetic research call for a radical rethink about what makes us who we are, with sweeping, and no doubt controversial, implications for the way we think about parenting, education and the events that shape our lives. This is the theme of his book, Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are (Allen Lane, 2018; Penguin Press, 2019) – a must read for anyone wondering about identity and genetic family.