Since DNA data is so closely related to many facets of an individual’s identity, we had to ask how the respondents felt about the nature of personal identity and what it relates to. Overall, 76% believed someone’s identity is related to the unique lived experience of the individual, and only 9% believed it’s more closely related to DNA. It seems that most go with nurture in the nature vs. nurture debate. Interestingly, people who had taken a test were more likely to believe this than those who had not.
DNA testing is seen with both curiosity and suspicion among contemporary American society. Many want to know about their ancestry, family tree, and the possible diseases they might encounter in life. At the same time, those who understand the high potential for privacy violations through the use of DNA data were also worried about the use of this data without their knowledge or consent. If you want to learn more about data privacy and how to keep your information secure, check out the knowledge base at Privacy HQ.
Methodology and Limitations
We collected 1,263 responses of people living in the United States from Amazon Mechanical Turk, 295 of whom had taken a DNA test. 57% of our participants identified as men, 42% identified as women, and roughly 1% identified as nonbinary or nonconforming. Participants ranged in age from 19 to 84 with a mean of 37 and a standard deviation of 11.3. Those who reported no current employment or who failed an attention-check question were disqualified.
The data we are presenting rely on self-report. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to, the following: selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration.
Fair Use Policy
We offer our findings freely and encourage you to share the data with your friends and family, especially those who have taken a DNA test already or are considering doing so. Our only requests are that you link back to this page whenever you choose to share our findings and to please only do so for noncommercial purposes.