How do Psychologists Interpret the Role of Genes in Behaviour?

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There have been many debates in the field of psychology wether we behave the way we do due to nature or nurture. This controversy has many sides to it. Most of the time it can be concluded that they collaborate. But how do behavioural psychologists and geneticist actually find evidence that the genes play any role in our behaviour at all? Psychologist always try to find out what leads a person to a certain behaviour. On the nature side of view, it is depicted that behaviour is generally inherited and in our genes, it just sometimes needs a trigger from the environment. To understand certain kinds of behaviour and to help find the causes of patterns of behaviour, gene studies are important. The more one understands about how behaviour develops the more it is likely to prevent outbursts and mental problems and the easier it will get to predict certain types of behaviour.

In general, it is believed that most personality traits are inherited and therefore genes passed on by the parents and mostly triggered by environmental factors. First of all, one needs to understand what genes are. Genes are, „the unit of hereditary transmission encoded in DNA [...] transmitted from a parent to its offspring“. (as cited in Colman, A. M. (2009), Dictionary of psychology). Each organism has two genes for each characteristic one inherited by each parent.
One example of research that suggests that genetic inheritance contribute to behaviour is inbred strain lines. So far this is has only been tested in animal research. Inbred strain lines are important to genetical research as inbreeding minimises genetic variation. Therefore, the line will be genetically similar. Pearl and Parker (1922), inbred five different strains of fruit flies to investigate...

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...ed, that it is important to evaluate the role of genes in behaviour. Otherwise, the picture would not be complete. For now it is still impossible? To figure out the exact balance of genetic and environmental influences. Nonetheless, research shows that inherited genes do play a major role in behaviour. Not everything can be labelled with numbers yet but the evidence strongly suggests that genes influence behaviour to some extend.

Works Cited

Colman, A. M. (2009), Dictionary of psychology (3rd ed.), Oxford, University Press.
Davey, G. (Ed.) (2008), Complete psychology (2nd ed.), London, Hodder Education.
Pinel, J. P. J. (2007), Biopsychology (7th ed.), Harlow, Pearson International.
Toates, F. (2011), Biological psychology (3rd ed.), Harlow, Pearson Education Limited.
Wickens, A. (2000), Foundations of biopsychology (1st ed.), Harlow, Pearson Education Limited.
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