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The Nature-Nurture Debate

2. Nature

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this second lecture, we take a deep dive into the nature explanation, focusing in particular on: (i) Mendelian genetics/inheritance as the origin of modern genetics, centred around plant research; (ii) the first key principle of Mendelian genetics/inheritance being that specific traits can be encoded in ‘units’ (genes), which are passed on from one generation to the next; (iii) the second key principle being that each specimen receives one ‘form’ (allele) of a gene from each of its parents; (iv) the third key principle being that when two different alleles are present, it is the dominant allele that will have its characteristic expressed; (v) Galton’s later views that more complicated human traits, like personality and intelligence, might also be inherited; (vi) heritability within quantitative genetics, investigating how often a particular trait appears in a population, and whether it is more likely than average to appear in genetically related members of a group; (vii) the three methods of testing heritability being family, twin, and adoption studies.

Glossary:

Heritability – A statistic used in the fields of breeding and genetics that estimates the degree of variation in a phenotypic trait in a population that is due to genetic variation between individuals in that population.

Glossary:

Heritability is a statistic used in the fields of breeding and genetics that estimates the degree of variation in a phenotypic trait in a population that is due to genetic variation between individuals in that population.

Course

In this course, Dr Lydia Kearney (University of Kent) explores the nature ‘versus’ nurture debate in psychology. The first lecture prefaces the course by proposing the removal of ‘versus’, predicated on the origin of any human behaviour being too complicated to be explained by just one set of factors. The second lecture takes a deep dive into the nature side of this debate, introducing Mendelian genetics and explaining the concept of heritability. The third lecture explores the nurture side of this debate, outlining a timeline, from the ancient philosophers who proposed the tabula rasa, to modern research on environmental factors that impact aggressive tendencies. Next, we bring in a modern perspective on the interactions between environmental and genetic factors when explaining phenotype expression. In the fifth and final lecture, social anxiety is used to exemplify how environmental and genetic factors, as well as their interactions, can predict the prevalence and experience of the condition.

Lecturer

Dr Lydia Kearney is Deputy School Director of Education in the School of Psychology at the University of Kent. Dr Kearney’s research areas of interest are social anxiety and experiences of mental imagery, particularly how the two interact and impact attention and interpretation biases. Some of Dr Kearney’s recent publications include 'Observer perspective imagery in social anxiety: effects on negative thoughts and discomfort' (2011) and 'The intra and interpersonal effects of observer and field perspective imagery in social anxiety' (2013).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Kearney, L. (2021, December 13). The Nature-Nurture Debate - Nature [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-nature-nurture-debate/nature-2da4d580-a84e-4dd9-ab26-575331d705fb

MLA style

Kearney, L. "The Nature-Nurture Debate – Nature." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Jan 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/the-nature-nurture-debate/nature-2da4d580-a84e-4dd9-ab26-575331d705fb

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