OtherPapers.com - Other Term Papers and Free Essays

The Warrior Gene

Essay by   •  April 9, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,900 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,696 Views

Essay Preview: The Warrior Gene

Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

Warrior Gene 1

The Warrior Gene:

Discovery and Research

Jane Doe

Introduction to Psychology

December 13, 2011

Warrior Gene 2

The Warrior Gene:

Discovery and Research

We all lose our cool at times, but what about those people who always seem to be angry about something? Could the reason lie in their genetic makeup? Almost two decades ago, Ed Yong (2010), reports that Hans Brunner, a geneticist, discovered a mutated gene on the X chromosome of some overly aggressive men from a Dutch village. The gene was completely inactive (Yong 2010). Before this discovery, it was thought that human behavior was dependent solely on our environment. In recent years, however, a new breed of genetic scientists is challenging that conventional wisdom. Nature versus nurture once again comes into dispute. Are some people simply born to be bad, or does our environment shape who we are?

Why the Warrior Gene Can Cause Anger

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an enzyme responsible for encoding a protein that breaks down some of the brain's signaling molecules/chemicals, such as serotonin, noradrenalin, and dopamine. This enzyme is produced by a gene on our X chromosome, the same gene that Hans Brunner discovered in the late 1980's. Kaufman (2011), a clinical psychologist, explains that the gene, when mutated, does not produce adequate amounts of monoamine oxidase (MAO) and therefore, causes certain chemicals to build up in the brain. Studies have shown that higher levels of these brain chemicals cause increased levels of aggression, loss of empathy, and a willingness to harm others on a whim (Kaufman 2011).

Born To Rage. In a documentary for National Geographic Channel's Explorer, entitled Born to Rage (Day, 2011), Henry Rollins, author and former punk rocker, explores the subject of the warrior gene. He wonders if he posses the mutated gene. Rollins admits to struggling with rage, describing himself as being "fairly furious all the time"(Day, 2011). Rollins' parents separated at an early age, making him "a very nervous kid". He recalls being picked on and beat up in

Warrior Gene 3

school, being afraid. After a while his fear turned to violence with him unleashing his anger on the boy bullying him, beating him uncontrollably. "After that people left me alone". Rollins

recalls that by fighting his fear, he became part of the problem. His life became filled with risk-taking and violence (Day, 2011).

Rollins, two former gang members, five mixed-martial arts fighters, six bikers, a former Navy Seal, and three monks are tested for the mutant gene. Including the monks, all of these individuals came from a childhood in which they were mistreated, except one (Day, 2011).

Hector and Gilbert Verdugo are twins and former "Big Hazard" gang members in Los Angeles. They witnessed a murder at a very young age and were inducted into the gang at the age of ten. When they were teenagers they were two of the most feared enforcers for the gang due to their violent nature. Both brothers tested positive for the warrior gene (Day, 2011).

Although the five mixed-martial arts fighters seem violent in the ring, they are never out of control. Each punch, jab, or kick is planned strategically. Ultimately, all five fighters did not test positive for the warrior gene (Day, 2011).

Six rough and tough bikers from L.A. Were tested for the warrior gene. One man, Paul, caught his wife in bed with a friend. A shoot-out followed in which Paul was shot five times with

a 40 caliber handgun. Of the shooting, Paul said "it felt good! I liked the feeling". Interestingly, three of the six bikers that were tested had the warrior gene and Paul was not one of them (Day, 2011).

Next, Randy Hetrick was tested. A Navy Seal for 14 years, Hetrick appears calm, cool and collected. He recalls some red flags from his youth, including school-yard scraps and a bad temper. He is, however, different from the others being tested for the documentary in that he testifies to "a great mom and dad. They were loving and supportive". After enlisting, Hetrick

Warrior Gene 4

says that the military trained him to control, channel, and focus his anger. In the end, Hetrick

tested positive for the warrior gene (Day, 2011).

The documentary included three monks living in a Buddhist Temple in the California mountains. They have taken vows of peace and enlightenment. Tranquility, though, was not always their norm. One monk lived in Vietnam during the 1960's, before coming to America. The other two monks admitted to being angry as children due to being picked on. Surprisingly, all three monks had the warrior gene (Day, 2011).

Finally, the last to get the results of the warrior gene testing for the Born to Rage documentary was Henry Rollins. Even though his life seemed to be a poster board for intense anger, Rollins tested negative for the warrior gene. This supports findings that determining who has the warrior gene is difficult from appearances alone. This gene has not only been associated with violence, some studies connect it to people who take financial risk (Day, 2011).

Courtrooms. The march of the warrior gene science is gathering pace and is already entering the criminal justice system (Day, 2011). In Tennessee, on October 16, 2006, Bradley Waldroup shot his wife's friend eight times and sliced her head open, after which he chased after his wife with a machete, chopping off her finger and cutting her repeatedly. Waldroup was charged with felony murder, which carried the death penalty, and attempted first-degree murder

of his wife. Defense attorneys brought in forensic psychiatrist, William Bernet for



Download as:   txt (11.2 Kb)   pdf (139.7 Kb)   docx (14.2 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on OtherPapers.com