The Biological Approach - Influence of Genes

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What are Genes?

What are genes = units of inheritance that are passed on to future generations through sexual reproduction

Where are genes found = they are found in the nucleus of each cells and exist as pairs on chromosomes. In humans there are 46 chromosomes arranged into 23 pairs

What do genes do = they control our physical characterisitcs such as hair and eye colour 

NOTE: Biological psychologists argue that many of our psychological characteristics and behaviours are similarly genetically determined (i.e. passed down from ancestors) such as intelligence and personality

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Human Characteristics Thought to be Influenced by

1. Intelligence = although this is controversial because some would say that the environment experience is very important in the development of cognitive ability

2. Certain aspects of personality = such as the trait of introversion - extroversion

3. Psychological disorders = such as schizophrenia and biopolar disorder 

4. Gender differences = such as aggression, it is claimed  by some that males are more aggressive than females, due to evolution, but others argue that aggression is learned

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Genotype and Phenotype

Genotype = Refers to a person's genetic makeup (the particular set of genes the person possesses)

Phenotype = The observable characteristics or traits shown by the individual e.g. height or IQ. Refers to the combined expression (effect) of the genes and environment 

GENOTYPE + ENVIRONMENT = PHENOTYPE 

EXAMPLE: Identical twins have the same genotype as they share 100% same genetics, however one twin may be stronger because they work out in the gym more (different phenotypes)

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