Genetic essentialism is arguably one of the most important social phenomena today, and yet scholars have given it only limited attention. This said, genetic essentialism can be understood to be a variant of a more general phenomenon that has received thorough investigation by scholars—psychological essentialism. This entry defines psychological essentialism and explains how a minor modification yields genetic essentialism. Also discussed is the relationship between genetic essentialism and the related concept of genetic determinism. The entry concludes with a brief discussion of some of the effects of genetic essentialism and determinism on attitudes and behaviors.

The concept of genetic essentialism can be understood as a specific type of psychological essentialism. Psychological essentialism has several well-accepted components. Probably the most critical component is reflected in its name: ...

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