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Chapter 3 The Nature and Nurture of Behaviour Genes: Our Biological Blueprint Chromosomes threadlike structures made of DNA that contain the genes DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes

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Chapter 3

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chapter 3
Chapter 3
  • The Nature and Nurture of Behaviour
genes our biological blueprint
Genes: Our Biological Blueprint
  • Chromosomes
    • threadlike structures made of DNA that contain the genes
  • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
    • complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes
    • has two strands-forming a “double helix”- held together by bonds between pairs of nucleotides
genes our biological blueprint3
Genes: Our Biological Blueprint
  • Genes
    • biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes
    • a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein
    • The paradox 30,000 genes for 300,000 proteins
  • Genome
    • the complete instructions for making an organism
    • consisting of all the genetic material in its chromosomes
evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary Psychology
  • Natural Selection
    • the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those contributing to survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations
  • Mutations
    • random errors in gene replication that lead to a change in the sequence of nucleotides
    • the source of all genetic diversity
evolutionary psychology5
Evolutionary Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
    • the study of the evolution of behavior using the principles of natural selection
    • Behaviour expressed prior age of mating can possibly be selected for by natural selection
  • Gender
    • in psychology, the characteristics, where biologically or socially influenced, by which people define male and female
evolutionary psychology6
Evolutionary Psychology
  • Men everywhere preferred attractive physical features suggesting youth and health
behavior genetics
Behavior Genetics
  • Behavior Genetics
    • study of the power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior
  • Environment
    • every nongenetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us
romanian orphanages
Romanian Orphanages
  • Elinore Ames (1997) study
  • Early deprivation and malnutrition
  • When adopted before 4 months there seem to be no long term consequences
  • When adopted after 8 months or more they were developmentally delayed (could not walk or talk at 2.5 years)
  • Parents adopting more than one orphan had much more difficulty and stress in parenting
behavior genetics9






sex only

Same or

opposite sex

Behavior Genetics
  • Identical Twins
    • develop from a single zygote (fertilized egg) that splits in two, creating two genetic replicas
  • Fraternal Twins
    • develop from separate zygotes
    • genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but they share the fetal environment
behavior genetics10
Behavior Genetics
  • Temperament
    • a person’s characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity
  • Heritability
    • the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes
    • may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied
behavior genetics11
Behavior Genetics
  • Interaction
    • the effect of one factor (such as environment) depends on another factor (such as heredity)
  • Molecular Genetics
    • the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes
early environmental influence
Early Environmental Influence
  • Two placental arrangements in identical twins
environmental influence

Rat brain




Rat brain




Environmental Influence
  • Experience affects brain development
environmental influence17
Environmental Influence
  • Culture
    • the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next
  • Norm
    • an understood rule for accepted and expected behavior
environmental influence18
Environmental Influence
  • Personal Space
    • the buffer zone we like to maintain around our bodies
  • Memes
    • self-replicating ideas, fashions, and innovation passed from person to person
the nature and nurture of gender
The Nature and Nurture of Gender
  • X Chromosome
    • the sex chromosome found in both men and women
    • females have two; males have one
    • an X chromosome from each parent produces a female
  • Y Chromosome
    • the sex chromosome found only in men
    • when paired with an X chromosome from the mother, it produces a male child
the nature and nurture of gender20
The Nature and Nurture of Gender
  • Testosterone
    • the most important of the male sex hormones
    • both males and females have it
    • additional testosterone in males stimulates
      • growth of male sex organs in the fetus
      • development of male sex characteristics during puberty
testosterone effects
Testosterone effects:
  • Dr. Daryl O'Connor (2000), a co-author of the study, said: "Previous research has shown that men outperform women on spatial ability, such as map reading, and women outperform men on verbal ability. It is a well-known gender difference.
  • The fact that higher levels of testosterone improved men's verbal fluency was unexpected and these findings give us a preliminary insight into the non-sexual benefits of the hormone." The World Health Organization study was presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Winchester.
  • a set of expectations (norms) about a social position
  • defining how those in the position ought to behave
the nature and nurture of gender23
The Nature and Nurture of Gender
  • Gender Role
    • a set of expected behaviors for males and females
  • Gender Identity
    • one’s sense of being male or female
  • Gender-typing
    • the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role
same gender relationships
Same Gender relationships
  • Deborah Tannen
  • He says She says (Video Clip)
  • Sexism
the nature and nurture of gender25
The Nature and Nurture of Gender
  • Social Learning Theory
    • theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished
  • Gender Schema Theory
    • theory that children learn from their cultures a concept of what it means to be male and female and that they adjust their behavior accordingly
harris 1998 peer influence
Harris (1998) – peer influence
  • Don’t Blame Your Parents: The Nurture Assumption on Trial (talk at APA)
  • Parents influence on their children is context dependent - specific to home.
  • “The idea that children need constant attention and affection until the day they leave for college is a product of our culture.” – an unfounded assumption
  • Theory of group socialization is that the people who had formative influence are not parents by the peer group as a whole.
addendum natural and not so natural selection
Addendum: Natural and not-so-natural Selection
  • Basic idea of natural selection is that only some survive to mate and carry forward their genetic code
  • So selection into the gene pool is from the offspring that have offspring
  • The simple notion of mating competition has been used as a major explanatory approach by evolutionary psychologists
  • However there are other situations that limit the gene pool
other natural selection mechanisms include
Other Natural Selection mechanisms include
  • Miscarriages and spontaneous abortions
  • Death during pregnancy of mother or child
  • Death in childbirth of mother or child
  • (size of head and size of pelvis)
  • Fatal childhood diseases
  • Accidental death of children (childhood mortality rates)
not so natural selection include
Not-so-Natural Selection include
  • Genocide (as in Ruanda)
  • Child and adolescent suicide
  • Child Mortality related to child labour
  • Child armies (function of lighter guns)
  • Selective small family size (Canada and income)
  • (China - one child social policy and preference for males)
  • Selective Abortions (in India 97% of abortions are female)
  • Adoption Services
selective application of medicine
Selective Application of Medicine
  • Fertility clinics for the advantaged
  • Genetic Screening - Downs Syndrome
  • Genetic Screening - aborting females
  • Intensive Care for premature babies ($100-200k per case)
  • Genetic therapies
selective applications of science
Selective applications of Science
  • Selective Cloning of the Very Wealthy?
  • Patenting of mutant genetic code
  • Targeted Biological Weapons (selective flu)
  • Enhanced training in how to kill via videogames for children
  • Controlled famines with gene pool consequences
  • Implanted identification devices (Digital Angel)