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#344 - Robert Plomin - Psychologist & Geneticist - What if your DNA could predict your future?

#344 - Robert Plomin - Psychologist & Geneticist - What if your DNA could predict your future?

FromGénération Do It Yourself

#344 - Robert Plomin - Psychologist & Geneticist - What if your DNA could predict your future?

FromGénération Do It Yourself

162 minutes
Sep 10, 2023
Podcast episode


 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!


00:00:00 - Genetics 101
00:08:48 - Robert Plomin’s life in a nutshell
00:30:40 - Predictive genetics, ethical implications, and parenting tips
01:06:16 - On the predictability of happiness & romance
01:23:17 - About his book Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are 
01:42:00 - The twin research method
01:50:20 - The nature of nurture theory, illustrated by top athletes 
02:13:38 - We are the average of the people we hang out with vs. Genetics
02:18:27 - The future of behavioral genetics in health, education, and the job market
02:34:22 - Where to follow Robert Plomin
02:36:58 - Robert’s book rec
02:37:55 - Where to get your DNA tested in France? 

With Robert, we talked about older GDIY episodes:

#99 Antoine Freysz - Kerala Ventures - Comment être le The Voice des entrepreneurs ?
#83 Perry Chen - Kickstarter - Un projet peut en cacher 100 000 autres
#320 Michael Horvath - Strava - You are what you do everyday 

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) 

Enjoying the music theme? I owe it to Morgan Prudhomme. You can contact him here:
Interested in sponsoring Génération Do It Yourself or in building a partnership? Please contact my label Orso Media via this form.

You can find Robert’s talks on YouTube and he usually replies to his emails.
Sep 10, 2023
Podcast episode

Titles in the series (40)

Nous sommes la moyenne des personnes que nous fréquentons :GDIY est le podcast qui décortique le succès des personnes qui ont fait le grand saut. Que ce soient des entrepreneurs, des sportifs ou encore des artistes, je vous propose, sous forme d'interviews sans filtre, de rentrer dans leur histoire, dans leur quotidien. Mon objectif est de comprendre leur mode de pensée, leur organisation ou encore leurs outils, et de vous proposer un véritable MBA des échecs et des succès de ces invités.