Behavioral Genetics Essay

2383 words - 10 pages

Is behavior learned? It is inborn? What of aggression, intelligence, and madness? There is a crucial relationship between the behavior of humans toward their own kind and the view of life they hold. Interest in behavioral genetics depends on wanting to know why people differ. According to Jack R. Vale, in Genes, Environment, and Behavior, recognition of the importance of hereditary influence on behavior represents one of the most dramatic changes in the social and behavioral sciences during the past two decades. A shift began toward the more balanced contemporary view that recognizes genetic as well as environmental influences on behavior. Behavioral genetics lies in its theory and methods, which consider both genetic and environmental sources of behavioral differences among individuals. Behavioral genetics is simply the intersection between genetics and the behavioral sciences.

Behavior is a phenotype that is, an observable characteristic we can measure. On the other hand, behavior is not just another phenotype. According to Robert Plomin in Behavioral Genetics, “Because behavior involves the action of the whole organism rather than the action of a single molecule, a single cell, or a single organ, behavior is the most complex phenomenon that can be studied genetically. Unlike some physical characteristics, behavior is dynamic, changing in response to the environment indeed, behavior is at the cutting edge of evolution text, because its focus is on the complexity of behavioral phenotypes”(2).

Obviously, there can be no behavior without both an organism and an environment. For a particular behavior, what causes differences among individuals? For example, what causes individual differences in cognitive ability? Various environmental hypotheses can leap to mind: Families differ in the stimulation they offer for cognitive growth; environments differ in motivating people toward intellectual goals; educational experiences differ. However, genetic hypotheses should also be considered. Research in behavioral genetics is directed toward understanding differences in behavior. Methods are employed that consider both genetics and environmental influences, rather than assuming that one or the other is solely important. Behavioral genetics research studies whether individual behavioral differences are influenced by hereditary differences. Then, estimates the relative influences of genetic and environmental factors. Although genetic and environmental influences interact within an individual, this does not imply that the separate effects of genes and environment cannot be untangled when we focus on differences among individuals

Controversy arises when nature (inheritance) is combated against nurture (environment). This controversy began with the development of the behavioristic point of view. “Behaviorism arose as a protest against all form of “introspective psychology,” which was concerned with mental states...

Find Another Essay On Behavioral Genetics

Genes and Your Environment, The Developmental Tools of Life

875 words - 4 pages affords means of distinguishing between the effects of tendencies received at birth, and those that were imposed by the special circumstances of their after lives". According to Lea Winerman of the American Psychological Association, twin studies remain a favorite tool of behavioral geneticists, even after a century has passed since Galton's observation (Behavioral Genetics--A second look at twin studies). Twin studies allow us to observe the

Nature vs nurture by bret lane. a research paper about whether alcoholism is more related to environmental factors or genetics

1525 words - 6 pages the source and expression of various biological and behavioral characteristics? The relevance of this debate to psychology in the study of alcohol addiction is that many researchers feel that alcoholism is hereditary and that if parents are alcoholic, their children may be more likely to develop into alcoholics than others. However, others feel that genetics may play a part in the development of alcoholism, yet the environment plays a larger part

psychology 101

1150 words - 5 pages PSYCHOLOGY 101: Understanding Biological Psychology There are three theoretical perspectives in psychology that attempt to explain human behavior. The three perspectives are: Evolutionary Psychology, Behavioral Genetics, and Behavioral Neuroscience. These perspectives have been researched extensively in an effort to explain the complex sum of behavior and the mind drives human beings act the way they do. The three perspectives of


1568 words - 6 pages "transmission of traits from parents to offspring" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009) and the environment being the "circumstances or conditions that surround one" (The Free Dictionary, 2009). Throughout this paper the field of behavioral genetics, the ways that heredity and environment are correlated and shared and non-shared environmental experiences and the role each plays in development will be discussed.The Field of Behavioral GeneticsResearchers in

Capstone 230

546 words - 2 pages possible to really measure. There are aspects to a person's personality that are passed down from parent to child. There is a field dedicated to studying the genetic link to personality traits and behavior called behavioral genetics. In the 1930's, the theory that personality could be determined by one's blood type was popular in Japan. The process of "blood typing" is sometimes still used for hiring practices. In humans, a number of genetically

A concise review of the biological and genetic basis of personality,

1566 words - 6 pages -453.Plomin, R. (1999). Genetics of childhood disorders: III. Genetics and intelligence. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 38(6),786-788.Plomin, R., Owen, M. J., and McGuffin, P., (1994). The genetic basis of complex behaviors. Science, 264, 1733-1739.Taylor, J.,McGue, M., Iacon, W. G., and Lykken, D. T. (2000). A behavioral genetic analysis of the relationship between the socialization scale and self-reported

Genetic Tecnology (and the future portrayed in GATTACA)

576 words - 2 pages not only if you commit a crime, but also what your DNA says about you, then they might become biased and only look at a small scope of suspects. Police might become biased and almost exclusively look for suspects with a genetic possibility of behavioral disorders, not all the possible options.With all this technology and possibilities, it could create and new type of discrimination, not based on your economic status, or your race but by your genetics. In a culture that has worked so hard to break down social barriers and stomp out racism, this would be one giant step back in our progress.

Nature vs. Nurture

657 words - 3 pages term and the childcare study involving observations over a period of time. Another difference is the twin study looked at parents of a specific group, that being twins. The child care study looked at the children of many different types of parents. While both of these studies have their merits, neither study was able to conclusively determine the cause of behavioral problems observed as being attributed solely to genetics or the environment. The

The Human Genome Project

1153 words - 5 pages The Human Genome Project (HGP), an international scientific research project, has educated the public tremendously on various topics concerning DNA and genetics. This study has been beneficial to communities alike. As stated, the HGP sought to identify all the genes in human DNA, determine the sequences of the three billion chemical base pairs that make up human DNA, store this information in databases, improve tools for data analysis, transfer

Substance Abuse

1272 words - 5 pages different types of people in this world. There are individuals that have eating disorders, who abuse substances, have personality disorders, cannot control their impulses, and foremost have sex/gender disorders. These types of behaviors all have biological, emotional, cognitive and behavioral factors.Today there are many adolescent girls that are anorexic or bulimic. Not many people see this as a disorder. From the cognitive-behavioral perspective

Principles of Human Nature

964 words - 4 pages collection of reasoning and understanding. For instance, if genetics did not play any role in this outcome, then how could fraternal twins, raised under the same environment and conditions, differ at all in behavior or personality (Powell)? My opinion coincides with Wilson’s theory that “the brain determines the fate of the genes that prescribed it (145)” and that these behavioral genes are encoded into one’s DNA prior to birth. Wilson asserts the

Similar Essays

Heredity, The Environment, And Development Essay

1768 words - 7 pages The study of genetics has grown out of a desire to understand how exactly the individual comes to be just that, an individual different from its peers. In order to comprehend the scope of possible outcomes and how they came to be behavioral genetics looks at a number of variables; these include the impact of our genes (nature), and our environment (nurture). A countless number of hypotheses were put to the test through research to analyze the

Character Is Equally Genetics And Environment

924 words - 4 pages is due to nurture, the influences of the physical and social environment in which a child is raised; is one of the major issues that psychologists address. For people like my ex-husband that believe heredity is the reason we are, I offer them behavioral genetics. Behavioral genetics studies the affects of heredity on behavior. These researchers are finding increasing evidence that cognitive abilities, personality traits, sexual orientation, and

My Interest In Psychology Essay

1212 words - 5 pages were performing research in a field that combined developmental psychology and biology: developmental behavioral genetics. This type of research appeared to correspond with my interests and abilities in both fields.   In my work as a graduate student, I have attempted to focus my research interests in behavioral genetics, and I have found that there are three broad areas where I would like to contribute to behavioral genetic research

Cattell's Big Five Factors Essay

1012 words - 4 pages Cattell's Big Five Factors Cattell’s Big Five Factors of Personality, Behavioral Genetics, and Evolutionary Personality Theory. Current Research Raymond Cattell (1905-present) designed the “Big five Factors of Personality”, in which five classifications are revealed. Big Five factors: #1 extraversion vs. introversion, #2 agreeableness vs. antagonism, #3 conscientiousness vs. undirected ness, #4 neuroticism vs. emotional stability, and