A.C. 2.1 + 3.2 - Describing and Evaluating Biological Theory (UNIT 2) (5)

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  • A.C. 2.1 - Describe Biological Theories.
    • A.C. 3.2 - Evaluate Biological Theories.
      • Advantages
        • Adoption studies are a way of separating genes from the environment. They keep the genetic link, as they compare the child with their biological families, but as they do not have a shared environment, and differences are likely to be caused by genes.
        • Developmental trends can be studied as they are longitudinal studies. The same child/ group of children can be followed as they develop, so characteristics that come about as genes are triggered can be studied.
        • The longitudinal approach means that the same group of children are studied so trends can easily be noted. Trends can then be linked to genetic influences.
        • The finding of Crowe and Mednick, show the support of Adoption studies.
      • Disadvantages
        • It is likely that only certain types of family are accepted as adoption parents, so they are all likely to be similar to one another.
        • Children tend to be placed in families like their own, meaning the adoptive and biological environments are likely to be similar.
        • Children are rarely adopted immediately from birth so they may have spent time living with their biological parents so environment may well play a part. This is a confounding variable.
        • Participants who take part in these studies are gathered using volunteer samples. This introduces an element of bias in the sampling and may therefore not be generalisable.
    • Adoption Studies
      • Twins often share their environment this is where adoptions are often useful when looking at the effects of 'Nature VS Nurture'
      • Child who is similar to adoptive parents, environment (Nurture) has a bigger impact.
      • Child who is similar to biological parents, genetics (Nature) has a bigger impact.
      • Crowe (1972) - adoptee's biological mother had a conviction they had a 50% chance of having a conviction.
        • If adoptee's biological mother did not have a conviction they had a 5% chance of having a conviction.
      • Mednick - studied 14,000 adopted children, found high proportion of boys with criminal convictions had biological parents with criminal conviction.
        • found no relationship between number of criminal convictions of adoptive parents and their adopted children.
          • found significant correlation between the number of adopted children with criminal convictions and their biological offspring.


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