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PSYC 100
Daniel J Levitin

September 14 2010 Psyc 100Hi everyone my name is Jelena Ristic and I am your guest instructor for todayTA AnnouncementRegarding the midterm Professor Levitin posted on webct and you should have also received an email from me regarding midterm conflicts McGill has a policy regarding conflicts where they prioritize classes There are two classes in front of us who have a midterm on the same day at the same time as our midterm and those are Econ 208Physiology 314 If you are a member of either of those classes you are to write that midterm with the class and your midterm for this class will be scheduled to a later date If you have a different conflict with another class it is the responsibility of the other class professor to arrange a time for you to take their exam so you are to come to our exam and write our exam So if this is your situation the first situation if you are in Econ 208 or Physiology 314 you need to email either me or Sarny your other TA telling us that you have this situation which class you are registered in and include your student IDYou must also send us a copy of your registration for that class which you can get on Minerva just so that we have some kind of documentation ththat youre actually registered in one of these classes This all has to be done before October 20 so write down that date if this is your situation for you to be registered to write the make up exam So to miss a midterm for any other reason illness athletic event you will not be writinga make up midterm so if this is your situation and youre forced to miss a midterm then yourfinal exam will be waited at 100 of your final grade Any questions No Okay have a great class guysAlright so from that procedural note to the topic for this week So the topic for this week is called biological basis of behaviour What is that The title implies that our behaviour somehow has a basis in our biology and when we look at our biology we see that we all have similar biology but that when we look at very kind of small microbiology were all basically the same but our behaviours are very different So to what extent is our behaviour determined by our biology And to what extent is our biology determined by our behaviour So that will be the topic for today Lets try to get a popular opinion on a topic how many of you think that our experience is completely determined by our biology or our behaviour Show of handsone Okay how many of you think that its completely determined by our experience and not our biology 4 or 5 So what do the rest of you think Its a combination But the question is what combination Theres the question To what extent are we determined by our biology and or by our experience which really defines the central debate in psychology called nature or nurture and well see in CognitionHow many of you are taking Cognition next term maybe a third of youwell talk a little about this but we see that in psychology in general we have these kind of swinging ideas They go from one extreme position to another and they swing back and forth until they meet at the center of it where you guys are saying its a mixture of nature versus nurture We see historical roots of this debate in early philosophy Empiricists like John Locke have defined human experience and behaviour mostly based on external factors so they coined the term tabula rasa Have any of you guys heard of that Blank slate Okay what does that mean conceptually Joseph a class member responds we are born with a blank slate and everything we know gets imprinted onto that blank slate by our experiencing the world Others and Descartes was a part of this movement basically said that we are determined by biology and what we have is what we are bound with and we cannot really get out of our bounds biologically our biological bounds And this question persists until today we still have this debate How many of you have an identical twin Theres two Okay how many of you know identical twins Wow lots of you So lets hear from the people from people who actually have identical twins do people perceive you as the same people Yes Okay so for all of you who know identical twins do you see them as the same people or as different people So Im getting some different some sameCan someone from the different camp tell me just a little bit more So Midouri is saying their personalities are quite different Is your twins personality different Yeah This is an example where we have two people who have almost identical biology and genes identical twins and by the nature of their experiences they become completely different people Studies have actually determined that this difference in their personality not in their physical appearance is overwhelmingly determined by the nonshared components of their environment Nonshared means that there are some things they dont share You know twins live with the same parents mostly go to the same school mostly have the same friends so the percentage of that nonshared environment is very small but nevertheless has a huge impact in how these people are formed as different individuals Now lets try another one for nature How many of you here are bilingualHow many are not bilingual Okay excellent How many of you have acquired your second language after age 11 Okay So how many of you who have acquired your second language after age 11 or so have an accent when you speak A significant amount of you Well this tells us a little bit about nature It turns out that you will find out that and well talk about it in Cognition and youll probably touch upon it in this class as well humans seem to have a predetermined window of opportunity to acquire language and speak it as a native speaker That window of opportunity expires at around age 11 and so it seems that our brain is predetermined to process and receive language and thats why for those of you guys who dont have accents who got your second language at birth you got it in a window of opportunitySo here is an example of how nature now determines our experience and our behaviour because we are bound by these biological constraints Now if we could solve this debate it would really help us quite a lot We would know where to look at to understand human condition to understand human disorders we would know okay this is genetics so lets look at genetics or we know that this is due to the environment so lets go change the environment however its not that simple Its difficult to get a handle on
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