The Case for Adding Randomness to the Nature-Nurture Debate

Stephen Rice, David Trafimow, Rian Mehta


People dramatically underestimate the role that randomness plays in almost every aspect of human behavior. We show that the typical belief is that a combination of genetic inheritance and environment accounts for all of human behavior. However, in contrast to this belief, we review literature from the tradition of potential performance theory that shows that much human behavior, in a wide variety of domains, is due to randomness. The fact that randomness has been demonstrated to be an important contributor to human behavior, in many domains, suggests that psychologists should take it more seriously. Instead of attempting to account for human behavior solely with genetic and environmental influences, we argue that randomness should be included too. Thus, it is the interaction of genetics, environment, and randomness that produces human behavior, and behavioral researchers should recognize this and adjust their research programs accordingly. 

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Issues in Social Science  ISSN 2329-521X


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