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Week 14 - Genetics and Intelligence

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Queen's University
PSYC 100
Dr.Ada Mullett

Week 14 Notes - Genetics and Environment How are behaviours and other traits inherited?  Explain how behavioural genetics is studied  Behaviour arises from two origins: being born with it (nativism/nature) or experience (empiricism/nurture)  Behaviour Genetics: study of genetic influences on behaviour  DNA: genetic material of all organisms that makes up chromosomes  Chromosomes: threadlike structure in the nuclei of living cells; contains genes  Humans have 22 autosomes and one XY (male) or XX (female) sex chromosome  Chromatid: one of two identical halves of a replicated chromosomes  Genes: small units of DNA that direct the synthesis of proteins and enzymes and result in the expression of inheritable traits  Homozygous: each parent contributes the same allele for a particular gene (opposite is Heterozygous)  Alleles: alternative forms of the same gene (pair of genes, one from mom, one from dad)  Dominant: trait that is exhibited when an individual possess heterozygous alleles at the locus (human eyes)  Recessive: trait that occurs when it is expressed by homozygous alleles (blue eyes)  Genes don’t directly influence behaviour, but they guide cells to generate proteins that cause our cells to form chemicals related to behaviour (neurotransmitters)  Genotype: an organism’s genetic makeup  Phenotype: the outward expression of an organism’s genotype; and organism’s physical characteristics and behaviour (Bb, still brown eyes)  Polygenic: a trait that is influenced by more than one pair of genes (Labrador Retriever fur)  Behaviour is typically affected by multiple genes, not just one, with some exceptions (FOXP2)  Concordance: the expression of similarity in traits (or absence of traits) by both twins  We can conclude that traits have a genetic basis if they’re more likely to be concordant for identical twins than fraternal twins  Epigenetics: study of heritable changes that occur without a change in the DNA sequence  Differentiated Cells: cells whose profiles or characteristics have, over time, grown increasingly different from and more specialized than other cells of the same type ( a single-cell zygote develops into a multicellular zygote)  External factors (chemical, social, etc.) change how cells express instructions, may pass this on to the next generation  h (heritability): the statistic used to measure heritability, the amount of variability in a given trait in a given population at a given time due to genetic factors Is intelligence best understood as a cluster of related traits?  Explain what intelligence is and how it is measured, as well as some of the controversies surrounding intelligence testing  Differential Approach: approach in psychology devoted to test and measures of individual differences in various psychological properties, including people abilities to solve problems  Factor Analysis: mathematical modeling that examines group of variables for the underlying structure by calculating the extent to which the observed variables can be explained in terms of a smaller number of variables (factors)  G, General Intelligence: ‘indifference of the indicator,’ people with general intelligence do better in all areas (English, math, etc.) This concept was created by Charles Spearman  Alfred Binet created an intelligence test for children, which led to the concept of mental age  Led to the development of IQ (intelligence quotient) by Lewis Terman, who divided mental age by chronological age to produce the ratio IQ  Later, David Wechsler developed Deviation IQ: procedure for computing intelligence; compares an individual’s score with those received by other individuals of the same chronological age Designing Intelligence Tests:  Administer the test to thousands, and using resulting data, standardize (determining typical performance on a test, norms)  Check for reliability (repeatability of a measurement; the likelihood that if the measurement were ma again, it would yield the same value How are intelligence and its heritability connected to brain structure?  Discuss the heritability of intelligence and explain why heritability seems to increase with age Elements of Intelligence  Efficiency; someone who performs well (weather on verbal or athletic tasks, etc) will use less effort and be more efficient to produce superior results  Synchronization is the degree to which the activation levels of two regions vary together. Individuals with high skill level have high synchronization, activation would take place across the brain to solve problems  Adaptability is the brain’s ability to change its response to suit a situation (ex. Activating more parts of the brain to solve harder problems)  Shared environmental influences account for very little of the phenotypic variance in intellectual ability  Gene-Environment Co-variation; when exposure to environmental condition is correlated with a person’s genes - a person who inherited extroverted characteristics might seek out a job that required a lot of interaction with other people.  For individuals, inheritance seems to have a bigger effect on intelligence  In populations, environmental factors have a huge impact (avera
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