• Question: Is there a gene that causes guilt and if so do murderers suppress it or not have it?

    Asked by lectureattendee to Emma, David on 28 Jan 2019.
    • Photo: Emma Meaburn

      Emma Meaburn answered on 28 Jan 2019:


      Interesting question! We know that complicated human behaviours and emotions are not the result of the action of a single gene, so there will not be ‘a gene’ for guilt (or how empathetic you are, etc).

      Whilst there is not a single gene, we know that (lots and lots) of genes in combination play a role in why some people are at a higher risk for displaying anti-social behaviours. Prof Essi Viding does a lot of interesting research in this area, and her blog post might be of interest to you:

      https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/callous-unemotional-traits-in-children

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