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Heredity, the Environment and Development

Sandra Lattin

University of Phoenix


Heredity, the Environment, and Development

Everyone in the world is different in their own way whether it is hair and eye color or personalities. Heredity and the environment are two things that play a big role in a person's characteristics and development. Heredity being the "transmission of traits from parents to offspring" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009) and the environment being the "circumstances or conditions that surround one" (The Free Dictionary, 2009). Throughout this paper the field of behavioral genetics, the ways that heredity and environment are correlated and shared and non-shared environmental experiences and the role each plays in development will be discussed.

The Field of Behavioral Genetics

Researchers in the field of behavioral genetics study variation in behavior as it is affected by genes, which are the units of heredity passed down from parents to offspring (Science, 2009).

Many scientists have come to the conclusion in their research that genes alone do not control behavior. Genes give the organism the ability to respond to stimuli in their environment. But in the same motion, the environment activates the gene to respond to it. Scientists in the field of behavioral genetics are of the same mind in agreement that the environment and genes are interdependent of each other when it comes to factors of behavior. The scientific field is called behavioral genetics, not because they think genes are more important than environments but because they use gene-based research tools to sort out the factors that contribute to the variation in behavior (Science, 2009).

Recently a man named Stephen Mobley appealed to the Supreme Court his conviction for murder. In late 1991 he shot a pizza store worker...