Unit 2: The Biological Basis of Behavior
Section 2: Nature, Nurture and Human Diversity
To what extent are we shaped by our heredity (nature) and to what degree by our life history ( nurture)?
Genes provide the blueprints that design both the universal human attributes and our individual traits. Behavior geneticists study the origin of our individual differences. By using twin, adoption and temperament studies, they assess the heritability of various traits and disorders.
Most psychologists agree that both are equally important and both contribute equally to who we are. Nature lays the foundation and nurture defines it.
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When you have finished with this lesson, you should be able to:
Define chromosomes, DNA, genes and genomes and describe their relationship
Define heritability and understand it application to behavior
Discuss the focus of molecular and evolutionary psychology
Discuss gender differences
Discuss the effects of nature and nurture in development
Discuss culture and its affect on development
To prepare for this unit, please read the following modules in your textbook.
Module 6- Nature, Nurture and Human Diversity
Module 7- Evolutionary Psychology
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Comparisons of identical twins, who are genetic clones, and fraternal twins, who develop from separate eggs, help behavior geneticists separate out the effects of nature and nurture.
Research findings show that identical twins are much more similar than fraternals in abilities, personality traits and interests. The strong proof of this is the discovery of twins separated at birth.
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Nature and Nurture
You have read about the nature and nurture controversy in the reading assignment for this unit. Now practice your new vocabulary.
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Gender refers to the biological and socially influenced characteristics by which people define male and female.