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lawyerbrainblog.com claim that

Being a lawyer requires one to constantly search for problems, to wonder what could go wrong, to find the flaws and defects in an assertion. As a result, people with a personality that leans in this direction are more prone to entering the profession, and people with less of this tendency drop out of law school and out of practice at a disproportionately higher rate than their more skeptical counterparts. This concentrates the skeptics in two ways–more are attracted in the first place, and fewer drop out over time.

Skepticism itself is one of those personality traits that is more influenced by one’s environment than is typical. Most personality traits are more genetically predisposed, more nature than nurture, but skepticism is an exception. It is very much influenced by one’s milieu.

For those not well versed in psychological lingo, the first quote sentence makes reference to the trait theory of personality.

What I want to ask here is if there's empirical evidence that skepticism is (significantly) more influenced by environment/nurture/milieu than other personality traits.


Some footnotes:

Christian said in the comments below that we should define skepticism. I think the first paragraph from the source uses it with reasonably common meaning, quoting from Wikipedia, either/both

  • an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object;

  • a mode of inquiry that emphasizes critical scrutiny, caution, and intellectual rigor;

seem consistent with the first paragraph I quoted from the blog.

Of course if you don't buy that personality traits exist at all, the question is meaningless to you. Please don't post answers saying that, I already know that option exists. And I'm saying this because I've asked here a question about the relative merits of IQ vs. another psychometric measure, and the only answer I've got was "IQ is meaningless" +3.

  • I think it is true that many people (myself included) have had "Aha!!" moments that led to the appreciation of skepticism as a personal virtue, but I suspect that often this simply "unleashed" a sort of repressed skepticism. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 26 '17 at 4:21
  • (You're certainly dabbling in an interesting topic, but it's unfortunately likely that there is not sufficient science/research in the area to establish a "notable claim" to meet the requirements for discussion here.) – Daniel R Hicks Nov 26 '17 at 4:26
  • It feels to me like the post currently lacks a definition of what it means with Skepticism. You have New Atheists who are fond of language that indicates certainty who self-identify as skeptics, you have global-warming skeptics who identify as skeptics and you have people who's position on many issues is "I don't know". – Christian Nov 26 '17 at 11:40
  • @Christian: I've expanded the question with another paragraph from the source in which they explain what they mean by skepticism... and it seems a reasonably common meaning of the term. – Fizz Nov 26 '17 at 13:55
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    There's a difference between skepticism as a personality trait, and skepticism as a trained approach to thought. This writing seems to play fast and loose with that critical distinction. – user5341 Nov 26 '17 at 14:29

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