Psychology- Ch3

Define: Polygenic Transmission
How many gene pairs combine their influences to create a single phenotypic trait.
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Behavioural genetics
the study of how heredity & environmental factors influence psychological characteristics.
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In what three ways can concordance be studied?
Family studies- researchers study relatives to determine genetic similarity on a given trait. Adoption studies- adopted people are compared to their biological + adopted parents. Twin studies- compare trait similarities in identical +fraternal twins
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Define: Heritability Coefficients
estimates of the extent to which the variation in a specific phenotypic characteristic within a group of people can be attributed to their differing genes. It applies to populations/groups- NOT INDIVIDUALS
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==> Assumed that there are laws of learning that apply to virtually all organisms ==> Treated organism as ‘tabula rasa’- i.e. a blank slate on which experiences are written
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==> Argued that that, because of evolution, every species comes into the world biologically prepared to act in certain ways. Focused on fixed action patterns and adaptive significance
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Fixed Action Patterns
instinctive behaviour automatically triggered by a particular stimulus e.g. baby birds pecking at red spots
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Adaptive Significance
how a behaviour influences an organism’s chances of survival and reproduction in its natural environment.
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In what two ways can the environment shape behaviour? Define them.
• Personal Adaptation ==> Results from our interactions with immediate and past environments ==> Occurs through the laws of learning • Species adaptation ==> Influence from environment through natural selection
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What are the two types of environment? Define them
Shared environments = environments in which its members experience many common features. Unshared environments= experiences which are unique
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Define the reaction range
the range of possibilities- the upper and lower limits- that the genetic code allows.
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In what three ways can genes influence environment?
1. Influence aspects of parent-produced environment 2. Influence responses evoked from others 3. Influence self-selection of compatible environments
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What are the three environmental determinants of intelligence?
Shared family environment (more important at lower socio-economic levels), environmental enrichment/deprivation, educational experiences
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What is the heritability coefficient of a) intelligence b)personality
a) 0.7 b)0.4-0.5
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What are the Big Five?
1) extro/introversion 2)agreeablness 3)conscienscousness 4)neuroticism 5)openness to experience
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Define epigenetics
the study of changes in gene expression due to environmental factors & independent of DNA.
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What are the two methods of genetic modification currently studied in mice?
Knockout procedure = when a function of a gene is removed, or eliminated ==> Knock-in procedure= new gene is inserted into an animal at embryonic stage.
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Gene determinism
the idea that genes have invariant and unavoidable effects that cannot be altered.
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Genetic screening
he study of a person's DNA in order to identify genetic differences or susceptibility to particular diseases or abnormalities.
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What is a susceptibility test?
tell you if you are more likely than others to develop a particular disorder, with no assurance that it will indeed occur
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What are the three important questions concerning genetic screening?
1. What are the potential benefits? 2. How accurate are the screens?3. How should people be educated about test results?
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Define Evolution
a change over time in the frequency with which particular genes-& the characteristics they produce- occur within an interbreeding population.
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random events and accidents in gene reproduction during division of cells. If these occur in sperm/egg, it will be passed on to offspring
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Natural selection
how characteristics that increase the likelihood of survival and reproduction will be more likely to be preserved in the population, therefore becoming more common in a species over time.
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physical or behavioural changes that allow organisms to meet recurring environmental challenges to their survival, thereby increasing their reproductive ability.
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Evolutionary noise
neutral variations that neither facilitate nor impede fitness are preserved in a population.
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What is the sexual strategies theory?
Mating strategies and preferences reflect inherited tendencies, shaped over the ages in response to different types of adaptive problems that men and women faced. (a related model= parental investment theory)
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What is the social structure theory?
Women and men display different mating preferences because society guides them into different roles.
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What is the evolutionary personality theory?
Looks for the origin of presumably universal personality traits in the adaptive demands of our specie’s evolutionary history. - i.e. it asks where human personality traits originated from.
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What is strategic pluralism?
The idea that multiple- even contradictory- behavioural strategies might be adaptive in certain environments and would therefore be maintained through natural selection.
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What does the size of the neocortex determine?
The size of the social group that a species is able to maintain
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Why did brain development occur?
Due to tool use, bipedal locomotion and social organisation putting pressures on higher mental processes to develop
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Behavioural genetics


the study of how heredity & environmental factors influence psychological characteristics.

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In what three ways can concordance be studied?


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Define: Heritability Coefficients


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