Psychology 111, Fall 2009
Despite some good advice, we are all at times judgmental, believing that people
should just “get their act together” or “stop being so wimpy.”
We might even wonder what
parents did wrong or what life choice someone would have to make to be so “messed up.” Yet
it is clear that genetic influences play a critical role in shaping behavior.
What is the role that genetics play in our day-to-day life, and specifically
personality and cognition (IQ)?
The important of Genes in our lives
1. In the first paragraph, provide an introduction (+5 points) and the underlined topic sentence
(+ 5 points).
The interaction of genes and environment is a part of the answers that men have been
wandering for thousands of years. Is destiny determined by God or is it free to choose? Should
we blame God or should we blame ourselves what we have been doing? Because our activities
are influenced strongly by our genetic background through creating our desire and ability to
participate in those activities, and our personality and cognition are products of influences of our
genes and the environment, we should judge our behaviors and others’ base on the genetic
component and the ability to choose of those behaviors.
2. In the second paragraph, discuss how much of our day-to-day activities are determined by our
genetic background (+8 points).
Both of our day-to-day physical and mental activities are determined by our genetic background
by influencing the desire, the ability to participate in those activities.
First our genes influence our desire in all activities.
In physical activities such as sports, some people are more engaged than the others
because of their genes. Studies have indicated that genetic factors account for approximately
29%–62% of the variance in daily exercise behavior and 35%–83% of the variance in sports
participation (Bryan). Not only physical activities, but our desire for mental activities such as
learning at school is influenced by our genetic background. For example, a student may not be
interested in participating at school because of learned helplessness behavior. A research on mice
supports the idea that genetic
background and gender are important in creating that behavior
Second our genes determine our ability to participate in those activities. One of the biggest
influences on the ability of participating in those activities, especially physical activities, is our
health. For example, genetic factors account for 30% to 60% of the variance in blood pressure
(Whitfield). Moreover, our genes also influence mental activities by determining our brain. For
example, functional polymorphisms in the catechol-O-methyltransferase and the dopamine
transporter genes modulate dopamine inactivation, which is crucial for determining neuronal
signal-to-noise ratios in prefrontal cortex during working memory (Bertolino).
Whitfield, K., & McClearn, G. (2005). Genes, Environment, and Race: Quantitative Genetic