Evolution and Genes Experiences and Behavior Experiences affect behavior partly because environmental stimulation forms and maintains neural connections. For example, psychological research shows that babies need consistent, loving contact with a caregiver in order to achieve optimal brain development. Neglected babies, lacking attention and physical contact, experience unpleasant emotions that are not simply transitory. Their experiences determine the development of their neural connections. Similarly, soldiers on active combat duty can suffer mental damage from the continuously stressful environment, even if they never experience physical injury. Adoption Studies In adoption studies , researchers compare adopted children to their biological parents and to their adoptive parents. Adopted children share more genes with their biological parents. The children’s living environments, however, more closely resemble the environments of their adoptive parents.
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