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Works Cited











The relationship between genetics
and behavior have been discussed and argued by psychologists for a long time.
However, they do share multiple correlations and work together in many ways. For
instance, “Behavior genetics has demonstrated that genetic variance is an
important component of variation for all behavioral outcomes, but variation
among families is not. These results have led some critics of behavior genetics
to conclude that heritability is so ubiquitous as to have few consequences for
scientific understanding of development, while some behavior genetic partisans
have concluded that family environment is not an important cause of
developmental outcomes. Both views are incorrect. Genotype is in fact a more
systematic source of variability than environment, but for reasons that are
methodological rather than substantive. Development is fundamentally nonlinear,
interactive, and difficult to control experimentally. Twin studies offer a
useful methodological shortcut, but do not show that genes are more fundamental
than environments.” (journals.sagepub.com).
Another set of points to bring up include that: “…techniques which can be used
in the analysis of human behavior by the methods of biometrical genetics and
compares them with those of the Multiple Abstract Variance Analysis, and other
approaches. These techniques are applied to a number of personality and
cognitive measures using published data. Underlying assumptions of the analyses
used are discussed and tests of significance for departure from them are
demonstrated. Although data were often inadequate, the techniques provided new
information on the gene action controlling the measures and on their evolution.
It is concluded that the outcome of the reanalyses indicates the unique value
of the biometrical approach…”, and that, “…New technologies offer the promise
of lasting advances in our understanding of the causes of human psychological
suffering. Making the best use of these technologies, however, requires an
empirically accurate model of psychopathology. Much current research is framed
by the model of psychopathology portrayed in current versions of the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM; American Psychiatric
Association, 2000). Although the modern DSMs have been fundamental in advancing
psychopathology research, recent research also challenges some assumptions made
in the DSM—for example, the assumption that all forms of psychopathology are
well conceived of as discrete categories. Psychological science has a critical
role to play in working through the implications of this research and the
challenges it presents. In particular, behavior-genetic, personality, and
quantitative-psychological research perspectives can be melded to inform the
development of an empirically based model of psychopathology that would
constitute an evolution of the DSM.” (psycnet.apa.org, journals.sagepub.com).
Also, it is important to mention that “Behavior genetics is a field in which
variation among individuals is separated into genetic versus environmental
components. The most common research methodologies are family studies, twin
studies, and adoption studies. Environmental influences can be divided into two
classes, shared and nonshared (or unique) environment. Shared environment is
the environment shared by siblings reared in the same family. This includes
such variables as socioeconomic status and parent education. Nonshared
environment is the environment unique to the individual. This includes such
variables as peer group.” (personalityresearch.org). What many people do not consider
is that “Much of psychology is concerned with the universal laws that govern
behavior. The study of individual differences complements the search for
general principles by investigating how people differ from one another.
Investigators of individual differences attempt to measure, predict, modify, and
understand the causal influences on traits that are relatively stable over time
and across situations. Such traits may fall in the normal or abnormal range and
cover domains as diverse as personality, ability, motivation, and
psychopathology.” (psychology.sas.upenn.edu). Another significant point to
bring up is that “Most temperament theories presume a
biological basis to those behavioral tendencies thought to be temperamental in
origin. Behavioral genetic methods can be used to test this assumption. Twin
and adoption studies suggest that individual differences in infant and child
temperament are genetically influenced. However, behavioral genetics has much
more to offer to the study of temperament than simple heritability estimates.
The present paper describes some recent findings from behavioral genetics
research in temperament that go well beyond the basic nature-nurture question.
These findings include the importance of nonshared environmental influences on
temperament, genetic continuity and environmental change during development,
links between temperament and behavior problems, and harnessing the power of
molecular genetics to identify specific genes responsible for genetic influence
on early temperament.” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). To further elaborate on
genetic influences on children, it is necessary to bring up that, “The finding of moderate genetic influences on child
temperament does not negate the importance of the environment. As indicated
above, genetic factors account for between 20% and 60% of the phenotypic
variance in personality, which means that the remaining 80% to 40% of the
variance is attributed to environmental factors. Clearly, the environment is
very important to temperament. However, behavioral genetics research suggests
that the types of environments traditionally assumed to influence child
behavior may not operate the way we think they do. Twin and adoption studies
consistently find that shared family environment accounts for only a small
portion of variance in most temperament dimensions. This is demonstrated
in a study of infant temperament that found correlations for tester-rated
temperament to be about .00 for genetically unrelated adoptive siblings—which
provides a direct test of shared family environment—and .20 for genetically
related nonadoptive siblings. In other words, growing up in the same
family does not make family members resemble each other in temperaments. Family
members are similar in temperaments primarily because of shared DNA.” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).
In conclusion, genetics do play a role and correspond with behavior, whether it
be in children or adults.