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Genes and the environment - summary (referring to lec 5)

9 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY352H5
Professor
Robert Gerlai

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Do we have free will in terms of what we do? Or is it restricted by the environment and
biological factors (product of evolution)?
A mix of culture and genetics influences our preferences- why do we obey certain laws
-The origin of racial differences- is it adaptive? Yes- in africa- people are dark
skinned- because there is alot of sunlight therefore it prevents one from developing
skin cancer
- genetic influence may be strong or weak
-Nature vs. Nurture debate- it is difficult to seperate gene and environmental effects
- one needs to look at how they work together
-The scientific method is used to see how much the gene influences vs. The
environmental influence
-It is a hypothesis- wants to identify: what is the proportion of variability coming
from the gene or the environment
heritability- looks at how heritable something is- what is the proportion of variance
A larger proportion of variance occurs due to genetics, but even if something is 100%
heritable, it doesnt mean that we cant use the environment to change it
If IQ is highly heritable: it MEANS- that 60% of variation in our population has a genetic
origin- 40% has an environmental origin
INDIVIDUAL VS. POPULATION
-heritability is not about the individual- it is about the variability in a POPULATION
-ex. The IQ average is misinterpreted as influencing the individual- however,
heritability looks at the source of variability in a POPULATION- doesnt mean that
an individuals performance has this average-
-Even if these is the ratio for the population, in an individual, environment may
influence them beyond 40% of influence them less than 40%
-Ex. If an alchoholic drinks everyday, (the environment) will influence them depsite
the parents (genetics)
What is vs. What can be
www.notesolution.com
-It is looking at what is existing in a population under certain circumstances- NOT
looking at what it can be- thus, 60% doesnt mean that the estimate from another
population will be the same- the ratio can change in proportion
-Genetic variability can be higher/lower in a different environment- ex. Interbreeding
-It looks at a particular situation for a particular population
-BGA banquet: behaviour genetics association
-Watson- respectable in science: discovered model of DNA- fired instantly- made a
comment about the African nation- he said that it is a waste of $ to support Africans
because they are genetically inferior- have low intelligence because it is heritable
(because of their genetics) thus, they are destined to fail because of their genetics
-Thus it is a waste of resources to help them because its genetically determined (that
they have weak genes)
-Ex. Intelligence heritable thus Africans perform less
*this comment is similar to what was said at a BGA banquet: by the president- talked
about differences among racial groups- and said that some are superior/ others are inferior-
due to genetics- therefore we shouldnt continue social programs for minorities and Africans
1)Need a genetically identical (inbred) strain to identify genetic differences-
-cant use a racial group- because even this group has a lot of variability
-Ex. Obama- is half white (caucausian) and half black yet is identified as being
BLACK (african american)-
-based on his superficial genetic markers (phenotype- what we can see), not
information
-Black skin however is a product of more than 1 gene- memory/thought is very
complex- has many underlying genes- 50% of genes are expressed in the brain-
therefore one cannot conclude based on race
2) Within a racial group, there is variation not only in genetics, but in socioeconomic status,
education
Thus environmental factors cannot be differentiated from genes
www.notesolution.com
When travel was limited, there was still african genes in caucasian people- racial
groups are not a homogenous population- can only make such conclusions using
inbred strains
4) Environmental effects: racial groups are treated differently in environments-
Ex. Higher income have more access to the library, research- may affect ones IQ
-Genetic marker= what is used to measure phenotype differences
2) ex. Differences among a jewish population that lives in different geographic areas is
larger than jews and non-jews living in one area (ex. Russia) why? Culture influences
intermarriage- but the size of the population is limited in different geographic area,
therefore inbreeding occurs (relatedness)- genetic variability is harmed- alleles are lost-
thus, differences occured because of inbreeding jews in one area, not because genes are
different across races-
-Just because a marker specifies a racial group- doesnt mean its a genetic difference
3) Anyone can make a test biased- one can make it easy/hard and get different results-
Ex. IQ tests are designed by white males- may not be appropriate for other cultures who
havent been taught these values- every technique includes its own measuring bias- does it
really reflect intelligence? Not objective method differences exist not because of how the
brain functions- but because of culturally learned ways
6) People are misunderstanding heritability- even if distinct genetic differences occur
between groups and test method is unbiased- this statement is still incorrect
Heritability isnt what can be, its what it IS- doesnt mean that one cannot alter
their performance with the environment
Since genetic differences exist, need to put more money towards social programs- to
help each group strive for excellence
7) Genes mean that we are predisposed/biased a certain way- but it does not mean that we
are predestined to behave that way
Traits vs. Society- ex. If one is aggressive in society, they want to prevail- this may
be good to a certain point- but it is also bad- because if it is a biological trait- it
means that it is a function of the brain- thus how it manifests will different
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Do we have free will in terms of what we do?Or is it restricted by the environment and biological factors (product of evolution)? A mix of culture and genetics influences our preferences- why do we obey certain laws - The origin of racial differences- is it adaptive? Yes- in africa- people are dark skinned- because there is alot of sunlight therefore it prevents one from developing skin cancer - genetic influence may be strong or weak - Nature vs. Nurture debate- it is difficult to seperate gene and environmental effects - one needs to look at how they work together - The scientific method is used to see how much the gene influences vs. The environmental influence - It is a hypothesis- wants to identify: what is the proportion of variability coming from the gene or the environment heritability- looks at how heritable something is- what is the proportion of variance A larger proportion of variance occurs due to genetics, but even if something is 100% heritable, it doesnt mean that we cant use the environment to change it If IQ is highly heritable: it MEANS- that 60% of variation in our population has a genetic origin- 40% has an environmental origin INDIVIDUAL VS. POPULATION -heritability is not about the individual- it is about the variability in a POPULATION - ex. The IQ average is misinterpreted as influencing the individual- however, heritability looks at the source of variability in a POPULATION- doesnt mean that an individuals performance has this average- - Even if these is the ratio for the population, in an individual, environment may influence them beyond 40% of influence them less than 40% - Ex. If an alchoholic drinks everyday, (the environment) will influence them depsite the parents (genetics) What is vs. What can be www.notesolution.com
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