Chapter 6 notes.docx

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19 Jun 2013
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Chapter 6: Genetics
Genotype: unobservable genetic constitution, fixed at birth, features of development, switch on & off
Phenotype: observable behavioural characteristics (level of anxiety), changes over time
Behavioural genetics: study of the genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in
personality and behaviour
NATURE AND NURTURE AS ALLIES
Nature and nurture transact: genes and environment can work separately, together, or they may
influence one another
Genotype-environmental correlation: people change environments and environments change people,
so we really can’t separate the impact of genes on environment
GENES AND ENVIRONMENTS AS CO-ACTORS
Heritability: (h2) the amount of observed individual differences in some characteristic that can be
accounted for by genetic differences
- refers to differences across a group or population of people, not to a specific person
- it is the inheritance of a particular trait in a particular population at a particular time
- the heritability of height is 80% is the U.S. but it’s only 65% in China and western Africa, in Australia it is
87% for men and 71% for women
Environmentality: (e2) extent to which observed individual differences can be traced in a way to
individual differences in environments
As a general rule: the greater the heritability of a characteristic the less the environmentality. And the
greater the environmentality, the less the heritability
Environmental factors that can influence height:
Child nutrition, especially protein, but also calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D
Childhood malnutrition is detrimental to adult height
Childhood diseases
Human growth hormones can counteract some of these detrimental effects
Shared environment: aspects of the family environment that are generally the same for all children in
the household. This includes 3 aspects:
Physical- can be the type of dwelling (apartment vs. house), its layout, the # of books or
computers in the home, or the presence of a video gaming system
Psychological- home atmosphere, parenting practices, the quality of sibling interactions, or
psychopathology (alcoholism, drug use, depression) in the home
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