PSYA01H3- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 22 pages long!)

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PSYA01H3
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Chapter 3 Biological Psychology
3.1 Genetic and Evolutionary Perspectives on Behavior
Psychologist Martie Haselton has given new meaning to the phrase dress for success, which
she is referring to success in attracting a mate. (She is an evolutionary psychologist) she
studies how human behavior has evolved to solve problems that relate to survival and
reproductive success. She has discovered that the clothes people choose are related to
sexual motivation in some subtle ways
- Perhaps one reason people have so often debated nature and nurture relationships is
because humans have such a strong tendency to think in either/ or categories: yes or
no, true or false, black or white.
- In reality, available evidence suggests that nature and nurture lie along a continuum,
with some traits subject to greater influence from genes while others are more
environmentally based
- Most important, we know that genes and experience are never independent;
instead, they interact to make us who we are.
Heredity and Behavior
- In fact, researcher has made it clear that behaviors are influenced by genes just as
physical characteristics are.
1. The Genetic Code
- Nucleus, which is where we find the entire genetic code.
- Genes = the basic units of heredity; they are responsible for guiding the process of
creating the proteins that make up our physical structures and regulate development
and physiological processes throughout the life span.
- Genes are organized along chromosomes, structures in the cellular nucleus that are
lined with all of the genes an individual inherits.
- Humans have approximately 30,000 genes distributed across 23 pairs of
chromosomes, half from mother and another half from father.
- Genes are comprised of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), a molecule formed in a
double-helix shape that contains four amino acids: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and
thymine (A, C, G, T).
- Genes instruct cells how to behave, which type of molecules to produce, and when to
produce them.
- The term Genotype refers to the genetic makeup of an organism.
- Phenotype consists of the observable characteristics, including physical structures
and behaviors.
- The genotype represents what was inherited, whereas the phenotype represents the
physical and behavioral manifestation of the genotype through interactions with the
environment.
- If two corresponding genes at a given location on a pair of chromosomes are the
same, they are referred to as homozygous.
- If the two genes differ, they are heterozygous.
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Specifically, we need an approach that examines the interactions between genes and
environment
2. Behavioral Genetics: Twin And Adoption Studies
- For many centuries, the clearest evidence of this possibility came from animal
breeding, where animals such as dogs have been reared to be hunters, herders,
protectors, or companions. Because we cannot use the methods of dog breeders to
study humans, some alternatives are required.
Behavioral genetics = the study of how genes and environment influence behavior.
- Behavioral genetic methods applied to humans typically involve comparing people of
different levels of relatedness, such as parents and their offspring, siblings, and
unrelated individuals, and measuring resemblances for a specific trait of interest.
- Twins present an amazing opportunity to conduct natural experiments on how genes
influence behavior. One method commonly used in twin studies involves comparing
identical and fraternal twins.
Monozygotic twins = come from a single ovum (egg), which makes them genetically
identical.
Dizygotic twins = (fraternal twins) come from two separate eggs fertilized by two different
sperm cells that share the same womb.
- It was far more likely for both monozygotic twins to show anxiety or depressive
symptoms than for both dizygotic twins to do so; thus these results demonstrate the
influential role that genes play in depression
- Behavior genetics use twin studies to calculate heritability a statistic, expressed as
a number between zero and one, that represents the degree to which genetic
differences between individuals contribute to individual differences in a behavior or
trait found in a population.
- A heritability of 0 means that genes do not contribute to individual differences in
a trait, whereas heritability of 1.0 indicates that genes account for all individual
differences in a trait.
- The environment never stops interacting with genes (ex - .76 at 3 to .48 at 12)
- Behavioral geneticists also study adopted children to estimate genetic contributions to
behavior. The adopted family represents the nurture side of the continuum, whereas
the biological family represents the nature side.
3. Behavioral Genomics: The Molecular Approach
- Above examples can provide estimates of heritability, but they do not tell us how
traits are inherited.
- To make this determination, researchers go straight to the source of genetic influence
– to the genes themselves. Behavioral genomics is the study of DNA and the ways in
which specific genes are related to behavior.
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