Nature vs. Nurture

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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Psychology & Brain Sciences

Nature vs. Nurture Nature Evolutionary psychology Why are people so similar? What is it? Explain human behavior/traits by examining the long term reproductive dis/advantages of said traits and behaviors  Any two humans will have ½% genetic variation (99.5% similarity) Gender differences in reproductive behavior: Fact: men and women differ in their willingness to engage in sexual activity Men are les concerned about: Having multiple partners Knowing their partner really well Their partner’s level of commitment Women have way fewer opportunities to bear offspring. - need to be picky in choosing a mate - wealth, status and power will protect the child, promotes her genes Men can have a thousand kids if they wanted to - if one partner turns out bad, lots of other opportunities - want to have as many kids as possible to promote his genes - wants to find really fertile women (young, attractive Problems with Evolutionary Psychology 1. data are correlational 2. “just so” stories and backward reasoning 3. there are variations in human behavior Behavior Genetics Why are people so different? What is it? An approach to understanding the extent to which behavior/trait differences can be attributed to genetic differences Key ways to investigate: 1. twins raises together 2. twins raised apart 3. adoption studies ~identical twins are much more similar to each other than fraternal twins Problems with behavior genetics: 1. huge samples (thousands of twins per study) 2. are identical twins raised more similarly than fraternal twins (same environment) 3. never mention the differences (how many are there?) 4. how similar are you and I? General findings: identical twins that are raised in separate homes are remarkably similar to each other Researchers compare the similarities between: Identical twins raised apart vs. fraternal twins raised apart General findings: identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins - Unaffected by “age at separation” - mix-ups Adoption studies: 1. are adopted kids more like their genetic (biology) or adoptive (environment) parents? 2. How similar are adopted kids to other kids raised in the same house? Personality is drive
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