To What Extent Does Genetic Inheritance Influence Behavior? Essay

971 Words Nov 8th, 2012 4 Pages
“To what extent does genetic inheritance influence behavior?”

A debate of nature vs. nurture, as in whether it is our inherited genes or environmental factors that affect our behavior, has been going on for years. There are no true experiments on genetic inheritance influencing behavior due to ethical reasons. Only quasi-experiments and theories of pre-existing data are available that are on genetics or environmental factors affecting behavior. With the few studies existing one can still argue that genetic inheritance is a major aspect in what affects behavior but environmental factors can be more affective.

There are two main theories of human behavior. Some scientists and psychologists believe in the “nature” theory, that one
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Lykken concluded that genetics have by far the strongest effect on happiness. The study had some positive qualities such as no harm involved and the large number of twins, which made the results fairly reliable. However, there were few MZA and DZA twins and the questionnaire was not a reliable way to measure happiness. Much criticism can be made on this study because firstly it was a quasi-experiment and was carried out only on twins in Minnesota. Also, happiness cannot be measured. When answering the questions in the SWB questionnaire the twins had to compare their happiness to other people. Lykken made conclusions off of these twins’ feelings and emotions of their happiness. These were also just twins from Minnesota, in a First World country (America), and he used their results to generalize for all people.

The big question of whether intelligence is inherited or “nurtured” by one’s environment has been widely researched. The Flynn effect is a theory suggesting that IQ scores have increased over the past few generations because of environmental factors. Flynn studied differences in IQ test scores in over thirty countries and found that IQ scores on average have risen by about three points per decade. It stood out that Black Americans’ IQ scores have increase fifty percent faster than White Americans’ between WWII and now. His explanation for the closing gap between different races’ IQ scores is that nowadays we are taught to

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