Can Inherited Traits Be Unlearned?
The question of learned versus inherited behavior and of nature versus nurture isn’t just a pure-science question. It could also have some very real-world implications.
One good example of this that we have already addressed in this article has to do with the topic of criminal justice. If a behavior – let’s say, violence – is a learned behavior, then it could presumably be unlearned or corrected through things like therapy or education. If – on the other hand – violence were an inherited behavior, one might ask whether it would ever be possible to unlearn it or whether violent people are born that way and will remain that way regardless of the intentions of the criminal justice program.
One argument is to act as though all behavior is learned. This approach encourages us to have hope in an individual’s ability to control themselves and their fates. The belief that our actions are strictly determined by things like genetics is a school of philosophy called determinism. This school of philosophy holds that, because our actions cannot be controlled by the individual, people who perform or who are likely to perform undesirable actions need to be removed from society. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/behavior/what-is-inherited-behavior/