“Genes Do Shape Behaviours But It’s Complicated” AND More on Best 5 Friday Reads

Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets begin!

1) Wired that way: genes do shape behaviours but it’s complicated

Many of our psychological traits are innate in origin. There is overwhelming evidence from twin, family and general population studies that all manner of personality traits, as well as things such as intelligence, sexuality and risk of psychiatric disorders, are highly heritable. Put concretely, this means that a sizeable fraction of the population spread of values such as IQ scores or personality measures is attributable to genetic differences between people. The story of our lives most definitively does not start with a blank page.

But exactly how does our genetic heritage influence our psychological traits? Are there direct links from molecules to minds? Are there dedicated genetic and neural modules underlying various cognitive functions? What does it mean to say we have found ‘genes for intelligence’, or extraversion, or schizophrenia? This commonly used ‘gene for X’ construction is unfortunate in suggesting that such genes have a dedicated function: that it is their purpose to cause X. This is not the case at all. Interestingly, the confusion arises from a conflation of two very different meanings of the word ‘gene’.

2) As a person of colour, it’s a struggle to find therapists who look like you

“Depression” was not a word Sally Yue Lin ever learned in Mandarin.

There were euphemisms for things like anxiety, abuse or trauma, but Lin, 28, never thought about seeing a therapist.

She saw her first one at the age of 20, when she was living in Montreal with roommates.

“The therapist I saw was an older, white woman who gave me pamphlets on breathing exercises; there was no follow-up and I felt even more isolated and misunderstood.”

3) Mental Health and the Media: A Call to Action

Humanizing psychotic disorders is the next step in challenging mental health stigma.

4) Clinical Implications of Gender Differences in Schizophrenia

A deep dive into how schizophrenia affects men versus women.

5) Gender Differences in Addiction: Clinical Implications

Dependence on or harmful use of alcohol and tobacco or illicit drugs is generally higher in men. Epidemiological studies, however, indicate an alarming narrowing in this gender gap especially in adolescents.

Thank you and see you tomorrow for some quotes.

Best Regards,


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