In 1965 a English geneticist published a theory according to which men with the XYY karyotypes are prone to criminal aggression. For the first time in history a specific genetic trait was linked deterministically to human behavior.
Although the “XYY hypothesis” was supported by some observational studies and reports, it was received enthusiastically by many experts and by the lay public. In some places inmates were given “treatment” for the condition.
However, accumulating public pressure brought about the largest prospective study of XYY children was abandoned in 1975. Today the hypothesis is considered neither valid nor ethical.
In this article we approach the rise and fall of the XYY hypothesis in the light of Thomas Kuhn’s notion of “paradigms” in science.
It is argued that probably due to its dealings with human behavior, clinical practice and vulnerable populations certain features of a Kuhnian paradigm do not apply to the XYY hypothesis.
|Keywords:||Genetics and Behavior, Aggression|
PhD Student, Department of Medical Education, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Senior Lecturer, Department of Medical Education, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
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