Lecture 8 Articles.docx

Probed for roots of behavior in individuals early

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– probed for roots of behavior in individuals’ early life- histories Best predictors of adopted child’s personality or mental health are food in biological parents When subjects are biologically-related, it is NEVER safe to interpret a behavior as only the result of nurture without future evidence no matter how clearly a situation may seem to point to environmental influence o Problem should be studied in adoptive families or by finding a way to randomly assign children Most disappointing outcome – inability to organize traits from more- to less- genetic o Everything is somewhat heritable but nothing is absolutely heritable o Lots of inconsistency as to which traits are more heritable and which are less heritable o Heritability coefficient does not match up w/ nature-nurture intuition Focusing on “important’” roles of genes and environment maybe be the wrong thing to focus on o (1) Genes and environment are both crucial to every trait o (2) Nature-nurture questions look at differences among people – traits don’t depend only on the trait itself
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Heritability coefficient of 0 suggests all nurture & no nature o Extent that people differ in arm number is likely the result of accidents and environmental reasons Heritability coefficient divides traits into 2 components – (1) genes (2) environment o These 2 components are calculated together for total variability o Gene-environment interaction or G x E – genetic differences affect behavior under some environmental circumstances but not others o Epigenetics – DNA is modified by environmental events, genetic changes transmitted to children For most behavioral traits, effects are so small and distributed across so many genes o Extreme environmental hardship causes catastrophic effects for many behavioral outcomes Leaving Your Lamarck Jean-Baptiste Lamarck – theory that animals could pick up traits during their lifetime and pass those traits on o Species change slowly over long periods of time due to chance and fate regardless of improvement in life Best way to study maternal care is with rats – good rat moms lick their babies a lot
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