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HEREDITY

Theprocessbywhicheticcodeofparentsispassedontotheirchildren.

Therearecertaintraitsthatparentspassontotheirchildren,includingeyecolor,haircolor,
height,andotherphysicalcharacteristics.ThecodingforthesetraitsarecontainedinsideDNA
moleculesthatarepresentwithinallhumancells.SincethediscoveryofDNAbyJamesWatson
(1928)inthe1950s,thescienceofgeneticshasfocusedonthestudyofDNAandthewaysin
whichphysicaltraitsarepassedonfromgenerationtogeneration.Withingenetics,aspecial
branchofDNAsciencecalledquantitative,orbiometrical,geneticshasemerged,which
studiestheheritabilityofsuchtraitsasintelligence,behavior,andpersonality.Thisbranch
focusesontheeffectsofpolygenesinthecreationofcertainphenotypes.Polygenes,asthename
implies,refertotheinteractionofseveralgenesandphenotypesarecertainvariable
characteristicsofbehaviororpersonality.Quantitativegeneticists,therefore,studytheeffectsof
groupsofgenesonthedevelopmentofpersonalityandotherabstractvariables.Theyrarely,it
shouldbenoted,areabletopinpointabehavior'sgenesistoaspecificgene.Specificgeneshave
beenfoundtocauseasmallnumberofdiseases,however,suchasHuntington'sdiseaseand
otherdegenerativedisorders.

Instudyingpersonalitytraitsandintelligence,thelatestresearchinquantitativegenetics
suggeststhattheheritabilityrateformanycharacteristicshoversaround50percent.In1988a
studyoftwinsrearedapartrevealedtheheritabilityof11commoncharactertraits.Thefindings,
publishedintheJournalofPersonalityandSocialPsychology,reportedthatsocialpotencyis
61%influencedbygenestraditionalism,60%stressreaction,55%absorption(havingavivid
imagination),55%alienation,55%wellbeing,54%harmavoidance(avoidingdangerous
activities),51%aggression,48%achievement,46%control,43%andsocialcloseness,33
percent.

Otherrecentstudieshavecompiledlistsoftraitsmostinfluencedbyheredity.Physical
characteristicsthataremostgeneticallydeterminedincludeheight,weight,toneofvoice,tooth
decay,athleticability,andageofdeath,amongothers.Intellectualcapabilitiesincludememory,
IQscores,ageoflanguageacquisition,readingdisabilities,andmentalretardation.Emotional
characteristicsfoundtobemostinfluencedbyhereditywereshyness,extroversion,neuroses,
schizophrenia,anxiety,andalcoholdependence.Itisimportanttonotethatthesearetendencies
andnotabsolutes.Manychildrenofalcoholics,forinstance,donotbecomealcoholics
themselves.Manysocialandculturalfactorsinterveneashumansdevelop,andthechildofan
alcoholic,whomaybegeneticallyvulnerabletoacquiringthedisease,mayavoiddrinkingfrom
witnessingthedevastationcausedbythedisease.(Forafullerdiscussionoftheroleof
environment,seeNatureNurtureControversy.)

Recentworkhasshownthatgenescanbothbeinfluencedbytheenvironmentandcaneven
influencetheenvironmentsinwhichwefindourselves.A1990studyfoundthatanimalsraised
inenvironmentsrequiringsignificantmotoractivityactuallydevelopednewstructuresinthe
brainthatweresignificantlydifferentfromthebrainstructuresofanimalsraisedin
environmentslackingmotorstimuli.Observationsfromsuchexperimentshaverevealedthat
complexenvironmentsactually"turnon"setsofgenesthatcontrolothergenes,whosejobitisto
buildnewcerebralstructures.Therefore,livinginanenvironmentthatprovideschallengescan
geneticallyalteraperson'smakeup.Additionally,ageneticpredispositiontointroversioncan
causepeopletoisolatethemselves,thuschangingtheirenvironmentand,intheprocess,altering
theirdevelopmentofsocialskills.This,then,contributesfurthertotheirgeneticpredisposition
tointroversion.

Therealsoappearstobeuniversal,inheritedbehaviorpatternsinhumans.Commonbehaviors
acrossdiverseculturesincludethepatternsofprotestamonginfantsandsmallchildrenatbeing
separatedfromtheirmothers.Astudyconductedin1976foundthatseparationprotestsemerge,
peak,andthendisappearinnearlyidenticalwaysacrossfivewidelydiversecultures.Other
studieshavefounduniversalfacialexpressionsforcommonemotions,evenamongpreliterate
huntergathererculturesthathavehadnoexposuretomedia.Itusedtobethoughtthatthe
humansmilewaslearnedthroughobservationandimitation,buta1975studyfoundthat
childrenwhohadbeenblindfrombirthbegansmilingatthesameageassightedchildren.Many
ofthesebehaviorsarethoughttobeinstinctual.Asidefromtheinfant/developmentalbehaviors
alreadymentioned,otherinheritedbehaviorpatternsinhumansincludesex,aggression,fear,
andcuriosity/exploration

Readmore:HeredityEmotionalDevelopment,Extroversion,Genes,andTraitsJRank
Articleshttp://psychology.jrank.org/pages/301/Heredity.html#ixzz4H37En7Gi