Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mistakes DNA

“In about 30 percent, the coils of their DNA carry a glitch, one that leaves their brains with few dopamine receptors, molecules that act as docking stations for one of the neurochemicals that carry our thoughts and emotions.”

“Children with the genetic variant are unable to learn from mistakes.”

Sharon, Begley, “But I Did Everything Right!” Newsweek, August 18-25, 2008

Think about all the mistakes and learning maxims that are useless for almost a third of all children, teenagers, and maybe even adults. The prized resilience built from picking yourself up and trying again may be illusory, a slippery slope for more mistakes.

Thank goodness for the potential of DNA testing. We may need a constitutional amendment to make DNA testing of this sort a requirement for becoming (or maybe even running) for President. Of course, we’d prefer that they didn’t make big mistakes in the first place, a new frontier for research.

A related finding from genetics research is that babies with “fussy” temperaments may be “more likely to emulate their parents and absorb the lessons that they have to teach” than babies with “sweet” temperaments. Fussiness better attunes babies to their environments. Finally, we can feel pride in our fussy children as they disrupt airplanes and grocery stores.

Do these research findings apply to adults as well? If so, we need to think twice when our sweetly-tempered bosses who urge us to “make new mistakes.”

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