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With reference to relevant studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

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Introduction

´╗┐Genetics and behaviour With reference to relevant studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour? Research has shown that to a certain extent genetic inheritance does indeed influence behaviour; however, one must take into account the environmental factors in order to address this issue in its entirety. Adoption and twin studies are commonly used in genetic research as these allow the most direct comparison of genetic and environmental influence of behaviour. Genes determine characteristics in a person and are passed down through generations; however, the environment can influence these characteristics, for example the effect of nutrition and weight. So the question remains as to which have a stronger influence, genetic inheritance or the environment. Monozygotic (MZ) twin studies are widely accepted in genetic research. They enable us to research the effects of genetics on behaviour because the genes of MZ twins are virtually identical. A study to support the relationship between genetic inheritance and behaviour is the Minnesota Twins study (Bouchard, 1990), which aimed to observe the effect of environment and genetic inheritance upon a multitude of factors which included: intelligence quotient, personality and occupational/vocational interests, by investigating the correlation between these factors in twins reared apart using MZT's as a control. Monozygotic twins reared together or apart, from all over the world, were compared and undertook 50 hours of medical testing and interviews. ...read more.

Middle

Theoretically, differences between parent and children IQ correlations for adopted and natural children should be attributed to genes. However, the researchers found no significant differences in IQ correlation. This finding was very interesting because the parents who contributed to the studies were wealthy, white and middle class with high IQ whereas the adopted children were from poor, lower-class backgrounds with lower IQ parents. This finding if further supported by Wahlstein?s (1997) research. Wahlstein claims that well-controlled adoption studies conducted in France have found that transferring an infant from a family with a low socio-economic status to a home where the parents have a high socio-economic status improved childhood IQ scores by 12-16 points. This seems to suggest that intelligence can be influenced by environmental factors. An enriched environment may raise IQ in children. However, it is likely there is a strong interaction between genes and the environment to produce intelligence level. Hence, environmental influences may affect human behaviour but not to the same extent as genetic inheritance. Though the environment can have an effect on behaviour, according to the evidence shown above, research shows that genetic factors impact behaviour to a greater degree. In Heston's study, it was found that schizophrenia and other psycho-social disabilities were diagnosed in the experiment group, showing their genetic inheritance from the biological mothers and the impact of genetics on behaviour; however the environment of being through an adoption process can cause much stress contributing to psycho-social disabilities that the experimental groups were diagnosed with. ...read more.

Conclusion

Among the 20 images were seven pairs in which one was infectious or potentially harmful to the immune system, and the other was visually similar but one infectious. There were 77000 participants from 165 countries. The findings confirmed that the disgust reaction was most strongly elicited for those images which threaten one?s immune system. Interestingly, the disgust reaction also decreased with age. In addition, women had higher disgust than men. In conclusion, this supports the idea of disgust as a key to successful reproduction. In spite of such evidence, there are some things to consider when examining an evolutionary argument. Since it may be difficult to test empirically some evolution based theories, researchers may be susceptible to confirmation bias ? that is, they see what they expect to see. Little is known about the behavior of early Homo sapiens, so statements about how humans used to be are hypothetical. Evolutionary arguments often underestimate the role of cultural/nurture/ the present environmental influences in shaping behavior. The theories are speculative ? it?s difficult to carry out experiments to clearly prove the theories. The researcher Hayes (2005) states that there is a tendency to ignore findings that don?t fit in with the theory ?confirmation bias. Evolutionary explanations have also been criticized as being too concerned with past events ? the world is very different now ? our environment has changed a lot. But evolutionary psychologists use the concept of ?genome lag? to explain why such behaviours still exist today. ...read more.

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