It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Are People Born Mean? Nature vs Nurture with a Twist

page: 1
<<   2 >>

log in


posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:31 AM
Greetings, ATS!

I stumbled across this article a few minutes ago: "Were You Born Mean?"

According to the article, scientists may have found a gene that predisposes someone to being "mean."

After analyzing the answers and the saliva, they found that some people have receptors that are especially sensitive to the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, and that those people did nice things even when their survey answers revealed that they generally feared others in society.

We’ve found that these genes also predict people’s willingness to be nice on behalf of other people or aggressive on behalf of other people," study co-author and assistant professor of psychology Michael Poulin told CNN.

Past tests have shown people to be nicer after receiving squirts of oxytocin in their noses. And without the extra sensitivity to those hormones, this study revealed that people who perceive the world as threatening did not participate in charitable activities.

While this looks like preliminary information, it does raise some interesting questions.

Could someone use this as a defense in court? Sounds far-fetched, but perhaps a gifted lawyer could spin it some way.

What about religion? If some people are born "mean," or insane, or what have you....does God not bear some responsibility for this? Can God hold folks accountable for actions that are possibly dictated by genetics?

Let me be clear: I believe folks are responsible for thier own actions. We are taught right from wrong (hopefully), and should be able to resist and overcome our more base nature.

Thoughts, ATS?

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:45 AM
reply to post by smyleegrl

Are People Born Mean?


posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:54 AM
You will never convince me otherwise!
My ex was adopted as an newborn to loving middle-class people. He had most everything, including reasonable discipline. He was and still is a very mean person, that has no conscience.
So yes, people can be born mean, or bad if you will.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:57 AM
i think people are born just the way needed to accomplish what they came here for. we are given obstacles in our lives in order to learn and feel what it's like to either get past them, or not. some people will not get past them or only get past a few, some will get past many, in either case it's more or less we will need to accomplish next time around.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:07 AM
For over 50 years the Russians have been studying the domestication of the dog.

One of the things they've been doing in selectively breeding silver foxes and they've proven without a shadow of a doubt that there exists aggressive genes and passive genes. They have bred angry with angry and calm with calm and they have some of the most aggressive animals far beyond any aggressive observed behaviors in the wild and they likewise have foxes that are as calm and gentle as old housecats. They even changed in appearance when only the aggression traits were isolated which itself is remarkable. Something can naturally look aggressive and naturally look passive.

It's an amazing study. It's also where I think Dolph Lundgren was hatched.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:09 AM
reply to post by chiefsmom

Well if he has no conscious then he is probably a psychopath. Psychopaths brains work differently than normal humans. They also have select genes that preposition them to such.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:09 AM
Genetics doesn't make who or what you are, but the environment does. The environment will trigger or not certain genes depending on the nature of that environment. For example, out of 100 woman who have had breast cancer, only 7 carry the "breast cancer gene", 93 do not carry it. And when it comes to social behavior, there's even more parameters that come into play, because psychology is far more complex than the physical problems behind breast cancer.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:13 AM
reply to post by thisguyrighthere

I was just going to say that you beat me to it

edit on 20-4-2012 by RealSpoke because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:15 AM
very interesting indeed, i have known that generally the way we are raised is a direct relation to how we come out, i knew their were some medical issues that could affect personality, this however is very interesting, unlike a medical issue (ie a cancer that develops in one part of the brain could drastically alter the personality of its victim) this appears to be hard wired. environment effects everything (which for the most part is true ie- no chinese baby born can speak chinese they have to be exposed to that environment) however the "mean" gene technically means you can do the best job in the world of raising someone and they'll still be a little s*@t. i guess being mean has it's uses in the wild, i guess it all goes back to the whole self preservation/survival of the fittest theory. being mean is a pecreptive thing anyway, what one person percieves as mean another may not. just my opinion
edit on 20/4/2012 by josephamccoy because: edit a bit out

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:19 AM
Both nature and nurture go towards shaping a person.
Yes people can be predisposed to being mean.
Being in a toxic environment can also make people mean.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:24 AM
I think it's both nature and nurture but I do think people "learn" most of the "bad" things through experience or imitation.

Interesting studies that Watson carried out on babies... just watch first few mins, no need to watch all 14 mins. (Although the documentary is absolutely fascinating)

If you'd like to watch full documentary you can here
edit on 20/4/12 by blupblup because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:33 AM
Yes, I think people are born mean. When I was a kid a knew a few who had nice parents and yet they behaved very badly towards classmates and kids around my neighborhood.

The best depiction of the nature of human begins, specially children is the book Lord of the Flies, I highly encourage this reading, it's very disturbing and touching, very well written, one of my favorites.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:36 AM
Funny subject.
IMO there is a lot more to nature versus nurture.. but there are so many variables that the whole discussion becomes muddy.. then when economics and culture gets thrown into it.. well then it just becomes tedious, Id rather volunteer for guinea pig in the dental student department than participate in a natire versus nurture discussion.. well.. maybe.

Just something interesting:
Now given my dad is an anti-BIA "activist.. or was.. there is some angst there, but he brought up a funny point once: why would the federal govt practice eugenics and keep NDNs fat and happy ( in poverty with lacking education and lacking medical care) on a rez.. if they WERENT a threat if educated and gained in numbers? Hitler based his camps off of the rez idea. It controls a people excellently.Especially a hardy, tough, genetically more pure than Europeans, etc people. Blah blah.. Dad had a whole theory.

Why did I see where he was coming from? Because even being born off rez, I was different. Im aggressive. Not mean or harmful or dangerous.. just aggressive in personality and drive. However, get some alcohol in me and you have snake-bitten dog mean. Which has gotten me in a few ridiculous situations in my youth.

If genetics can play such a significant role in something and I ( we.. ndn, read recently on the ndns in Alaska having yet another alcohol issue..) can react a certain way to something we ingest practically across the board ( the west was won with a bottle and not a gun theory of manifest destiny) wouldnt it make sense that also genetically a person could be born with an aggression gene or a gene that prompts a sort of narcissism or sociopathy "switched on" or brought to surface with the foods we eat or the environment or being less able to adapt to childhood traumas or abuses than others ...or just plain born mean?? Maybe so.

One thing I do know, for whatever reason - nature or nurture - there are just some who are mean from the start with no real feeling for their fellow humans or animals alike. Even as little kids ( see the case with the adopted child who tries to kill her baby brother and the parents.. and she was 5 or 6. Abuse survivor, but not ALL people exposed to abuse develop this way) Might just be my perception as an adult, but sure seems like a lot more now than when I was a kid. Some of the kids' friends and the kids I work with now and the kids and people I was exposed to in my previous career.. just plain mean and treacherous for no good reason.

Just my .02

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:41 AM
I always believed environment had the biggest factor with regards to a person's morales and beliefs. I still think this is the case.

As one person noted, our genetics may predispose us to a certain trait, but that trait can be overcome or enhanced based on our childhood environment.

Interesting brain tidbit: I attended a research conference concerning brain development and cognitive/social skills in children. Our presenter, Dr. Becky Bailey, showed us the results of an amazing study. This was a few years ago and I can't remember who conducted the study but I will try and find the source.

The study tracked children who were exposed to severe trauma. One family in the study had three children, a child of 13, a child of 6, and a child of 3 months. The family was dysfunctional, with the father abusing the mother (but supposedly not the children). Then the father killed the mother and shot himself. The kids were in the apartment when it happened.

Guess who was the most negatively affected: the infant. Why? Because the other two children's brains had developed enough that they were able to access the higher regions to come to terms with what happened. In other words, the older children had tools to deal with the trauma. The infant did not.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:41 AM
I think the opposite is true too! I think you can be born nice and have it Kicked and Beaten out of you!

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 09:37 AM
Yea, we're similar to wolves, some are born alpha's, some are born beta's and some are born omega's. We're born with different personalities. Since there are no rules to life, people who are more like alpha's can go either way, good or bad.

posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 05:04 AM
reply to post by smyleegrl

I don't think so at all. I was bullied as a kid... but now after 30 years and HS reunion, its amazing how nice and "grown up" my classmates are.

From what I can figure they were "nurtured" with attitudes as well as heavy social pressures with adult guidance that was mostly the opposite of what would be appropriate.

1 friend in particular seemed to "face himself" after a teacher in 9th grade asked him a bunch of "what's it to you?" type questions. Things like "ok so what if what you say is true then what? would you want him dead or is he just a victim?". He and the teacher are FB friends now, and great influences for others.

So IMHO our culture is mean - and children are only mean because they think its expected and seems to be their best/only chanse to escape the meanness themselves. I know I felt that - and passed on more than what I'm proud of too. Some I've gotten to apologize to - others IDK where/how they are. I pray they know God and can forgive me.

posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 05:11 AM

Originally posted by LittleBlackEagle
i think people are born just the way needed to accomplish what they came here for. we are given obstacles in our lives in order to learn and feel what it's like to either get past them, or not. some people will not get past them or only get past a few, some will get past many, in either case it's more or less we will need to accomplish next time around.

I like this answer a lot to be honest. Try looking at new borns / infants - it is quite eye opening after a while. We tend to think of our young as lovely, sweet, things (which they also are) but if you watch them together, it is all about snatching and pushing until they are old enough to know better. To me, this shows that such behaviour is in built, our default setting.

posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 06:20 AM
Interesting OP. I have a cousin (female) who is as mean as they come. She had a baby when she was 16, and by the time the baby was 2 years old, she decided she didn't want anything to do with him. Her parents (my aunt and uncle) kept the baby and raised it as their own.

To this day, my cousin absolutely hates that kid (he's in his early 30's now). It is such a sad situation, because he knows she's his real mother. What's worse, is that she eventually got married, and had another son. She flaunts in front of her first child that this son is smarter, and better looking. This is only one example of her meanness. We have a joke in the family that she inherited the "mean gene". My grandfather (her grandfather as well) was a very mean, selfish S.O. B. Neither my cousin nor I really knew him at all, as our grandmother divorced him when we were babies, so it's not like she was ever around him to be influenced.

BTW, my cousin's brother -- who was raised by the same parents at the same time as my cousin -- is as sweet and kind as they come. Luckily, he didn't get the "mean gene".

posted on Apr, 23 2012 @ 06:34 AM
reply to post by reitze

Another good point. People do change, especially children as they mature into adolescence and adulthood. Sometimes change occurrs after a life-altering experience (religious, near-death, what have you).

I personally think a lot of folks regret their actions in high school. Teenage years are cruel. I was never bullied, and I wasn't a bully, but I failed to stick up for others. IMO, just as bad.

Thanks for another side of the story!

top topics

<<   2 >>

log in