I. Nature vs. Nurture (Lecture 9 & 11)
Behavior genetics: the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on
Heritability: the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a
trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied.
Norm: an understood rule for accepted and expected behavior. Norms prescribe “proper” behavior. EX: South
Asians use right hand’s fingers for eating.
Individualism: giving priority to one’s own goals over group goals and defining one’s identity in terms of
personal attributes rather than group identifications.
Collectivism: giving priority to goals of one’s group (often one’s extended family or work group) and defining
one’s identity accordingly.
a. Twin and adoption studies
What can we learn about nature versus nurture from these types of
studies?What are the comparisons that can be made and what conclusions can you
Although identical twins have the same genes, they don’t always have the same number of copies of those
genes. Therefore one may be more at risk for certain illness.
On both extraversion (outgoingness) and neuroticism (emotional instability), identical twins are much
more similar than fraternal twins.
Genes can also influence social effects of such emotional instability trait: people’s differing divorce risks
are about 50 percent attributable to genetic factors.
The separated identical twins have less identical personalities than identical twins reared together. Still,
they are more alike if genetically identical than if fraternal. And separation shortly after birth didn’t
amplify their personality differences.
In traits such as extraversion and agreeableness, adoptees are more similar to their biological parents that
to their caregiving adoptive parents: The environment shared by a family’s children has virtually no
discernible impact on their personalities.
Children benefit from adoption.
The capacity to screen and select human fertilized eggs for such desirable personality traits as
friendliness and emotional stability is one of the potentials of molecular genetics.
What are some of the traits that are heritable?
How does heritability interact with the environment?
We can never say that percentage of an individual’s personality or intelligence is inherited. It makes no
sense to say that your personality is due x percent to your heredity and y percent to your environment.
Heritability refers instead to the extent to which differences among people are attributable to genes.
Nature and nurture work together.
Heritable individual differences need not imply heritable group differences.
Our genes affect how people react to and influence us. Biological appearances have social consequences. c. Parenting
Early experiences on brain development
How much does parenting count?
How does parenting interact with culture?
Power of peers: eat a certain food, English accent, smoking. More important for learning cooperation,
finding the road to popularity, and for inventing styles of interaction among people of the same age.
Power of parents: education, discipline responsibility, orderliness, charitableness, and ways of interacting
with authority figures.
But parents can influence the culture that shapes the peer group, by helping to select their children’s
neighborhood and schools.
Similarities and differences
Culture and the self
II. Child Development
a. Three major issues in developmental psychology
1. Nature/nurture: How do genetic in heritance (our nature) and experience (the nurture we receive)
influence our development?
2. Continuity/stages: Is development a gradual, continuous process like riding an escalator, or does it
proceed through a sequence of separate stages, like climbing rungs on a ladder?
3. Stability/change: Do our early personality traits persist through life, or do we become different
persons as we age?
b. Conception and uterine environment*
1. Habituation: a technique in which answers “What can my baby see, hear, smell, and think?” uses
decrease in responding with repeated stimulation.
2. Babies focus on the head first then the body.
What skills are they born with?
Sensory equipment. They are able to recognize their mom’s smell and voice.
On the day you were born, we have most of the brain cells you would ever have.
From age 3~6, the most rapid growth was in your frontal lobes (behavior and attention)
Our earliest memories seldom predate our third birthday.
Babies only three months old can learn that kicking moves a mobile, and they can retain that learning for
d. Cognitive Development
Cognition: all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing , remembering, and communication. Piaget’s stages: children reason differently.
18~30-month-old children may fail to take the size of an object into account.
Schemas: concepts or mental molds into which we pour our experience.
Assimilation: we interpret new experiences in terms of our current understandings (schemas). EX: a girl calling
all four-legged animals “cows” after learning what a cow looks like.
Accommodate: we adjust our schemas to incorporate information provided by new experiences. EX: she refines
Five stages of cognitive development of Piaget’s Theory
1. Sensorimotor (birth~2 years) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory
impressions and motor activities. Young infants lack
Object permanence: the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived. They live in
the present: out of sight is out of mind. They also stared longer at impossible things.
2. Preoperational (2~7 ears) Representing things with words and images, using intuitive.
Lack the concept of conservation. EX: pouring milk in a tall, narrow glass.
Egocentrism: difficulty taking another person’s point of view. EX: jim-brother experiment, makes
himself invisible by covering his own eyes.
Theory of mind: people’s idea about their own and others’ mental stages.
EX: Children will think Sally will look into the blue box despite the fact that they know that Sally, not
knowing the ball has been moved, will return to the red cupboard.
3. Concrete operational (7~11) logically reasoning, concrete analogies, arithmetical operations. EX: math
and 8 pieces pizza joke.
4. Formal operational (12~adulthood) abstract reasoning
Autism and mind blindness*: difficulty inferring others’ thoughts and feelings. They have impaired theory of
Asperger’s syndrome is considered a high-functioning form of Autism.
Male has higher chances of getting it because they are systemizers. They accompanied by exceptional skill or
talent but deficient social and communication skill. Aging also increased the chance.
e. Social Development*
Attachment*: an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness
to the caregiver and showing distress on separation.
Body Contact: monkey feeding on the food with still attach on the more mother like fake doll.
Familiarity: geese followed closely. Imprinting: the process by which certain animals form attachments
during a critical period very early in life.
Children do not imprint, they attached to things they’ve known.
Our capacity for love grows, and our pleasure in touching and holding those we love never ceases.
Securely attached children approach life with a sense of basic trust, a sense that the world is predictable
and reliable. Securely attached people exhibit less fear of failure and a greater drive to achieve.
Self concept: an understanding and assessment of who they are.
Parenting Styles: 1. Authoritarian: parents impose rules and expect obedience
2. Permissive: parents submit to their children’s desires.
3. Authoritative: parents are both demanding and responsive. Explain reasons for rules. Usually have kids
with highest self-esteem, self-reliance, and social competence.
To remember any event, we must get information into our brain (encoding), retain that information
(storage), and later get it back out (retrieval).
We first record to-be-remembered information as a fleeting sensory memory.
From there, we process information into a short-term memory bin, where we encode it through rehearsal.
Finally, information moves into long-term memory for later retrieval.
Different modified version
The first two stages are processed directly and automatically into long-term memory, without our
Working memory, (a newer understanding of the previous second stage), concentrates on the active
processing of information in this intermediate stage. Because we cannot possibly focus on all the
information bombarding our senses at once, we shine the flashlight beam of our attention on certain
incoming stimuli, often those that are novel and important. (is categorized into three different parts:
auditory, visual, and central executive)
Encode: Getting information In
How we encode: 1) automatically processing: space, time, frequency, and well-learned information. 2)
effortful processing: for nonverbal information, practice effortful processing does indeed make perfect
(rehearsal). Spaced study (spacing effect) and self-assessment beat cramming. Serial position effect: our
tendency to recall best the last and first items in a list.
What we encode: Level of Processing: 1) visual encoding 2) acoustic encoding (sound) 3) semantic
encoding (meaning), easier to remember and process.
Storing Memories in the Brain
Memories do not reside in single, specific spots.
Increased synaptic efficiency makes for more efficient neural circuits.
Long Term Potentiation (LTP): an increase in a synapse’s firing potential after brief, rapid stimulation.
Believed to be a neural basis for learning and memory.
Flashbulb memories: remember exactly where you were and doing what when 911 happened.
a. Memory Types
1. Sensory Memory: iconic memory: a momentary sensory memory of visual stimuli, a photographic or
picture-image memory lasting no more than a few tenths of a second.
Echoic memory: a momentary sensory memory of auditory stimuli; if attention is elsewhere, sounds and words can still be recalled within 3 or 4 seconds.
2. Working/Short Term Memory: decays without practice.
3. Implicit memory (nondeclarative memory) is that they can learn how to do something. They can go to
the rest room.
4. Explicit memory (declarative memory) is that they may not know and declare that they know. But
they can’t tell us where the rest room is.
What are the 5 characteristics that differentiate the different “types” of
How do sensory memory, short term/working memory, and long term
memory differ according to these characteristics?
b. Short Term Memory vs. Working Memory
c. The serial position curve
d. Retrieval Cues*: anchor points you can use to access the target information when you want to retrieve it later.
The more retrieval cues you have, the better your chances of finding a route to the suspended memory.
Recall: a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-
the blank test. The ability to retrieve information not in conscious awareness.
Recognition: a measure of memory in which the person need only identify items previously learned, as on
a multiple-choice test.
Priming: the activation, often unconsciously, of particular associations in memory.
According to the encoding specificity principle, memory is better when the conditions present during
encoding match those that are present during retrieval.
We learn things by association.
Associative learning: learning that certain events occur together. The events may be two stimuli or a
response and its consequences.
By conditioning and by observation we humans learn and adapt to our environments. We learn to expect
and prepare for significant events such as food or pain (classical conditioning). We also learn to repeat acts
that bring good results and to avoid acts that bring bad results (operant conditioning). By watching others
we learn new behaviors (observational learning). And through language, we also learn things we have
neither experienced nor observed.
a. Classical Conditioning
US: air puff, UR: blink to air puff, CS: tone after procedure, CR: blink to tone
Acquisition : the initial stage when one links a neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus so that the
neutral stimulus begins triggering the conditioned response.
Half a second is enough to present the neutral stimulus to the unconditioned stimulus.
Higher –order conditioning: a procedure in which the conditioning experience is paired with a