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Ever wondered what it’s like to live another person’s life but keep your own mind?
What makes us so uniquely different?
My guest today, psychologist and geneticist Robert Plomin, argues that it’s largely due to a 1% difference in our DNA.
Research Professor in Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London for 13 years, Robert grew up in a household with “no books” in Chicago, but still excelled at school.
It’s in the 1970s, at the University of Texas at Austin that he falls in awe with behavioral genetics while studying psychology.
Since then, his work – in great part based on twin studies – has highlighted how both genetic and environmental factors are crucial, but it’s their interaction that’s most determinant.
That’s why he comes to a fascinating and exciting conclusion: knowing everything about our DNA and our futures could improve our societies.
By unlocking the secrets of our DNA, we have the power to tailor our environments for optimal health and happiness, ditching the one-size-fits-all « golden yardstick » that Robert so vehemently rejects.
In this episode, you’ll learn about:
The relationship between psychology and genetics;
Austin, Texas in the 70s;
Why dreaming about becoming an F1 champion wasn’t enough for him to become one;
The ethics of genetics and how to handle it in responsibly;
Why your children should get to do what they love, whatever you think;
How your perception of things is actually a controlled hallucination.
Big up to Antoine Freysz for suggesting I meet Robert!
With Robert, we discussed:
His book Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are (2018)
Genetics in pop culture and sci-fi
Gattaca (dir. by Andrew Niccol, 1997)
George Orwell’s 1984 (1948)
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932)
Downhill Racer (dir. by Michael Richie, 1969)
Karl Ove Knausgård’s literary series, My Struggle (2009-2011)
Robert recommends you read:
Anil Seth’s Being You: A New Science of Consciousness (2021)
How to contact Robert :
You can find Robert’s talks on YouTube and he usually replies to his emails.
Interested in sponsoring Génération Do It Yourself or in building a partnership? Please contact my label Orso Media via this form.
Thanks a lot to our friends from FelixCapital for letting us turn their board room into a podcast studio for a few days.
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