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Module 11.docx

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PSYC 1000
Dan Meegan

Module 11: Behaviour Genetics and Evolutionary Psychology Behaviour Genetics: Predicting Individual Differences - The study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behaviour - Environment o Every nongenetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us Genes: Our Codes for Life - Heredity interacts with our experience to create both our universal human nature and our individual and social diversity - Chromosomes o Threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes o 23 from each parent - DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) o A complex molecule containing genetic information that makes up the chromosomes - Genes o The biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes o Segments of DNA capable of synthesising protein  Body’s building blocks o Can be active (expressed) or inactive  Can be turned on by environment - Genome o The complete instructions for making an organism, consisting of all the genetic material in the organism’s chromosomes o Every humans is nearly identical - Share 96% of DNA with chimpanzees - Complex traits, intelligence, happiness and aggressiveness are influenced by groups of genes Twin and Adoption Studies - To tease apart influences of environment and heredity o Control home environment and vary heredity or vise versa o Such experiments unethical on human infants Identical Versus Fraternal Twins - Identical twins o Twins who develop from a single monozygotic fertilized egg that splits in two , creating two genetically identical organisms  Same conception and uterus  May have different number of copies of the genes  May not share a placenta, depending on nutritional differences can make differences in twins - Fraternal twins o Twins who develop from separate dizygotic fertilized eggs o They are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters but share fetal environment - Shared genes can transfer into shared experiences o Similar behaviours and bodily traits, treated alike (but that doesn’t make them psychologically similar Separated Twins - Similarities in taste, physical attributes, personalities, abilities, attitudes, interests and fears - More so with identical then fraternal o But put any two similar people together and they will have coincidental similarities - Problems o Some have reunited prior to test o Adoption agencies place in similar homes Biological Versus Adoptive Relatives - Adoption creates two groups: genetic relatives and environmental relatives - People who grow up together related or not do not share much personality o Adoptees are more likely to have similar traits as biological parents then adoptive o Environment shared by children has no impact on personalities - Parents do influence attitudes, values, manners, faith and politics - Adoptive homes are less likely to have neglect, abuse or divorce o Most thrive when adopted as infants o Have strong attachment to parents o More self giving and altruistic, higher intelligence then biological parents, happier more stable adults Temperament and Heredity - Temperament o A person’s characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity o Emotionally reactive newborns tend to be reactive 9 month olds o Inhibited and fearful 2 yr olds tend to be shy 8 yr old and introverted teenagers - Anxious, inhibited infants have high and variable heart rates and reactive nervous system o New situations are more arousing o Gene regulating neurotransmitter serotonin predisposes a fearful temperament and in combination with unsupportive caregiving, and inhibited child - Biologically rooted temperament helps form enduring personality The New Frontier Molecular Genetics - The subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes - Heredity influences body weight o But there is no single obesity gene  Genes determine when stomach says “I’m full”, how much fuel muscles need, how calories are burned or used - Genetic testing can reveal at risk populations for diseases Heritability - The proportion of variation amount individuals that we can attribute to genes o The heri
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