Last Updated 04 Jan 2023

Behavior of People With Genetic Makeup

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The field of Behavioral Genetics examines how genetics interacts with one’s environment to determine behavior. Researchers look over an individual’s genetics in order to learn about how the environment shapes behavior. One of the guiding principles of this field is that an individual’s genetic predisposition has an impact on their behaviors in certain environments, and certain environments affect how genes are expressed. Since genetic makeup determines all behaviors to some degree, the field of behavioral genetics allows scientists to investigate what role genetics plays by looking at cases of how the environment influences the behaviors of people with similar genetic makeup.

Researchers in the field of Behavioral Genetics studies the affiliation between genetics and the environment through several broader frameworks. Studies in genotype-environment correlations examine how genetics result in environmental variations. In passive genotype-environment correlation, offspring passively inherit behavioral traits of their parents through both genetics and environment. For example, a child born to highly intelligent parents has a predisposition for intelligence, which may be nurtured by parents emphasizing intellectual development in early childcare. In active genotype-environment correlation, an individual actively seeks an environment that supports genetic tendencies. For example, a child with highly intelligent parents who is orphaned might seek out the highest quality of college education.

Evocative genotype-environment correlation describes how society reacts to an individual’s genetic predisposition. For example, a highly intelligent child born to low-income parents might find encouragement to grow intellectually from a school program for gifted children. On the other hand, genotype-environmental interactions refer to how genetic predisposition can be enhanced or suppressed based on an individual’s environment. For instance, children with a predisposition for alcohol abuse are more likely to present those behaviors when raised in an environment where alcohol use is common and less likely to develop drinking abuse behaviors if they are raised in an environment that does not support alcohol use.

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