Enhanced Personalities (was Causes of Sexual Orientation)

Scott Badger (wbadger@psyberlink.net)
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 14:16:04 -0500

Anders Sandberg wrote:

>So, to sum up, there is evidence for a genetic link, but it doesn't
>account for all the variation, and the evidence for hormonal effects
>isn't that strong. These results, together with the observed
>biological changes in homosexual's brains (mostly in the diencephalon)
>suggest that purely psychological explanations do not work to explain

Yes, this more accurately reflects the current understanding among psychologists.

>ObTranshuman: An interesting question is what would happen if it was
>possible to relatively simply adjust one's brain to change sexual
>preferences at will. How many people would try it? My guess is that
>relatively few adults would do it, since their preferences had already
>become a part of their self-image and they would not want to change
>that. Among adolescents experimentation might reasonably be expected
>to be higher. It would be interesting to study more what traits people
>regard as too central to be changed and what traits they could accept
>changing. For example, practically everybody seems to accept a better
>memory or sharper perception, many people would likely want to
>'polish' their personalities but not change them outright, and very
>few if any people want to change their basic value systems. Is this
>because the things we might accept changing are not as rooted in our
>values as the 'sacred' parts?

I'm not so sure about this. You appear to suggest that the behavioral patterns which make up our personality exist because we prefer those traits over others. As I'm sure you're aware, personality is also a product of complex interactions between our genes and the environment (neither of which we have a whole lot of control over). I think many people have personality traits that they don't particularly value. Many introverts, for example, might prefer to be more socially competent and outgoing. Many who are impulsive would prefer to be have greater control. Some who rely heavily on thinking through everything in a highly rational manner might prefer to have better intuitive skills and vice versa. I think most people would try to achieve a greater balance if they could pick and choose personality traits (a little more of this, a little less of that). They might try to tailor their personality to be more congruent with their career to enhance their success and work satisfaction. They might make changes designed to enrich their relationship with a significant other and gain the satisfaction that comes with enhanced intimacy. Too large of a change would, I agree, be too scary for most.