Open Questions: Genes and Behavior
See also: Evolutionary psychology
Sites with general resources
- A "hot topics" collection of articles from
Major areas of focus are the concept of human nature, free will,
and sexual stereotypes.
Genes & Behavior
- Good collection of resources on the topic -- external links,
magazine articles, and books.
Surveys, overviews, tutorials
A Biological Understanding of Human Nature: A Talk with
- September 2002 interview with Steven Pinker published on
Edge. It covers the general
ideas of Pinker's book, The Blank Slate.
Genes with attitude?
- June 2001 news article about how genes may affect opinions
No sense of humour? Blame your parents.
- April 2000 news article about the lack of effect of genes
on sense of humor.
Boy bullies' bad genes to blame
- March 1999 news article about differences in the effect of
genes on bullying in males and females.
- The Genetics of Cognitive Abilities and Disabilities
Robert Plomin, John C. DeFries
Scientific American, May 1998, pp. 62-69
- Twin studies suggest that about half the variation among
people in verbal and spatial ability is genetic. Investigations
are under way to identify specific genes that may be involved.
- Understanding the Genetic Construction of Behavior
Ralph J. Greenspan
Scientific American, April 1995, pp. 72-78
- Studies of courtship and mating in fruit flies show there is
genetic control of behavior. But even in the fruit fly it is a
complex process, many genes are involved -- and genetic influence
on human behavior is likely to be even more complicated.
- Matt Ridley – Nature via Nature: Genes, Experience,
& What Makes Us Human
- Ridley, an eminent science writer, takes up the classic
issue of heredity vs. environment. He argues for the sensible
position that neither heredity nor environment alone "determine"
behavior. Instead, they play complementary roles. Genes
largely determine the structure of the brain and provide
the mechanism for learning. Experience in turn impresses on
this substrate particular choices of behavioral alternatives
than an individual human wil tend to favor. The narrative
employs many examples from sexual identity, political behavior,
- William R. Clark; Michael Grunstein -- Are We Hardwired? The Role
of Genes in Human Behavior
Oxford University Press, 2000
- Clark dependably writes good books on topics in biology and
solid genetic science to develop his thesis. This is no exception.
It tackles the thorny qustion of how genes, through mediating
chemistry such as neurotransmitters and pheromones, affect
many forms of behavior -- aggression, sexual preferences, learning
and memory, and mental function.
- William Wright -- Born That Way: Genes, Behavior, Personality
- The author is a non-scientist with a keen and long-standing
interest in the relation of genetics to behavior and personality.
In this book he provides an account for the general reader of
both the science of behavioral genetics, twin studies in particular,
and the political controversies that the field attracts.
- Dean Hamer; Peter Copeland -- Living with Our Genes: Why They
Matter More Than You Think
- Hamer is Chief of Gene Structure and Regulation at the
U. S. National Cancer Institute's Laboratory of Biochemistry.
He applies his expertise in molecular biology to the question
of how genetics influences behavior. The book deals with a variety
of topics at the intersection of biology and psychology -- such as
emotions, anger, sex, addiction, thinking, and temperament.
- Lawrence Wright -- Twins: And What They Tell Us about Who We
John Wiley & Sons, 1997
- Extensive studies of twins, especially identical twins, have
provided some of the best evidence for the existence of biological,
genetic factors affecting personality and behavior. The author, a
science writer, presents a brief yet informative account of what
the evidence shows.
Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved