The Book of Life in the Double Helix: Cultural Differences in Biological Beliefs

Thumbnail Image
Lee, Albert
Culture , Biological , Genetics , Cultural Differeces
Biological beliefs posit that biological predispositions can sufficiently explain and predict human characteristics, behaviors, or other phenomena (e.g., Paul carries a gene for athletic abilities; he will become good at sports when he grows up.) In two studies consisting scenarios on a variety of developmental domains, participants from Canada and China evaluated the likelihood that a specific trait would develop in a character after reading about the genetic background of that individual. Results showed that, compared to Chinese, Canadians were more likely to rely on biological information in their developmental predictions. Some correlational evidence was found between participants’ biological beliefs and their scores on the Belief in Genetic Determinism Scale. These findings were consistent with past cultural research on causal attributions, perception of change, and beliefs in effort and persistence.
External DOI