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Biological Bases of Behaviour - PS101 Lecture - October 12th, 2011.docx

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Iuliana Baciu

th Biological Bases of Behaviour (Continued) – PS101 Lecture – October 12 , 2011 Endocrine System:  = glands that release hormones into the blood stream, in order to control bodily functioning  hormones = chemical messengers  some substances function as both neurotransmitters and hormones (ex - norepinephrine) Hormones and Neural Transmission: (NOT IN TEXTBOOK!)  Hormonal messages – longer distances, slower speed (seconds and minutes), and less specific than neural messages  Neural messages – short distances, very fast (milliseconds), along very specific pathways Hormones:  some are released in response to changing conditions in the body, in order to regulate them (ex - digestion by stomach and intestine hormones; kidney hormones regulate blood pressure)  released several times a day in brief pulses (pulsatile)  Pituitary gland – “master gland”  Hypothalamus – nervous system control of endocrine system; has connections with the pituitary gland  Stress – hypothalamus sends signals through the autonomic nervous system and through the pituitary gland (fight or flight situations)  Movie – “Stress and Emotions” Hormones and Individual Differences in Behaviour:  Variations in testosterone levels – linked to aggression, sexual motivation, cognitive functioning?  Research – some weak correlations between testosterone levels and aggression in females and males, but more on males - testosterone and dominance are linked (Schultheiss, 2005)  No reliable correlations between testosterone and cognitive functioning for young adults  Older males – higher testosterone levels are correlated with higher scores on memory, info processing speed, spatial abilities  MORE RESEARCH NEEDED!!! Hormones and Physiological Development:  Gonadotropins = hormones released by the pituitary gland to affect gonads (sexual glands)  Movie – “The Brain” Heredity and behaviour:  Psychological characteristics – modulated by genes? To what extent? By experience? To what extent?  Behavioural genetics – study of the influence of genes on behaviour Genetics:  Chromosomes = strands of DNA molecules that carry genetic information  46 in each cell, in 23 pairs, one chromosome contributed by each parent  except the sex cells, which have 23 chromosomes each  Each chromosome = thousands of genes (biochemical messengers)  Genes – DNA segments, hereditary transmission Genes:  Genetic transmission – probability!!!  Genes operate in pairs, one gene of each pair coming from each parent  homozygous condition – the two genes are the same in a pair  heterozygous conditions – two genes in a pair are different – the dominant gene will be expressed in the trait (ex - blue eyes) (simple scenario) Genotype and Phenotype:  Genes in the family’s gene pool – dominant and recessive – but can determine a trait  Genotype – a person’s genetic makeup; determined at conception; fixed  Phenotype – the expressed genotype; can change over time; modifiable by environmental factors; a blend of dominant and recessive genes can be expressed in a phenotype Polygenic Inheritance:  Human characteristics are influenced by more than one pair of genes  Skin colour – 3 to 5 gene pairs  Motor coordination – many pairs of genes in interaction  At least 10 genes involved in autism – the more genes, the more interactions between them Research: Hereditary Influence:  Correlational!!!  Family studies  Twin studies  Adoption studies Family Studies:  Phenotypic similarity among relatives for traits influenced by heredity  Schizophrenia among first degree relatives  But..families share environments, as well… Twin Studies:  Resemblance of identical twins and fraternal twins with respect to a trait is compared  Identical twins share more genetic similarity than fraternal ones  General intelligence, extraversion, autism – but identical twins are not identical on these traits – role of environment Adoption Studies:  Resemblance between adopted children and their biological and adoptive parents  Intelligence – modest correlations between children and biological parents!!!  Similar correlational magnitude with adoptive parents!!!  Genetic mapping – Human Genome Project The Genetic Body – Text:  Genome sequencing  thought to aid in the development of DNA-based medical diagnosis and therapy  ultimate goal = treat, cure, prevent diseases that affect humans  “defective genes”  “genetic mistakes”  standardization of the human body - human diversity and pathology hoped to be tamed - (decide if normal/non-normal) Reflect: 1. Implications of a conceptualized unique genome sequence 2. Is there a prototypical genetic script as a measure of the other genetic scripts? Provide support for your answer. Human Genome:  The human genome does not exist, variation is inherent and integral to humans  Two human genomes cannot be alike – all show mutations, deletions, and other genetic variants  genetic variation is the norm  Genomes are dynamic, constantly shaped by internal and external factors  genetic variation is always in the process of becoming, but not fixed Genome Variations as Disorders:  Societal construct  Abnormal vs. normal genome  Impact on people with disabilities  Normal genome is an impossible concept (genomes are constantly changing)  Disability stigmatized as the genetic Other Human Genome:  Genetic/biological determinism – accurate?  (No one gene is responsible for a condition!!)  “Faulty” gene(s) as responsible for inhe
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