Heredity and Hormones

Essay by terienCollege, UndergraduateA+, July 2008

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Heredity and Hormones

What influences humans to behave the way that they do? Is it caused by heredity passed down from generation to generation or is it influenced more by hormones released in the body? The truth is it is a combination of both heredity and hormones and it affects human behavior in different ways. To shed light on how human behavior is affected I will compare and contrast the ways heredity and hormones influence human behavior.

Genes are essentially the foundation of what makes humans who they are. Genes are hardwired into the body and outline our physical characteristics, development of our nervous system, and shape our endocrine system. Hormones are similar to genes in that they are uncontrollable and control the way our body functions. The endocrine system is what produces hormones and is responsible for things such as alertness, sexual desires, moods, and stress.

Genes establish a range of potential outcomes. Height (and numerous other traits) depends on the interactions of many genes with the environment (Maisto & Morris, 2005). Hormones are responsible for carrying out certain processes such as height. Environmental factors can affect the way hormones affect these outcomes. Malnutrition and diseases that affect growth are less common today and in turn humans are taller than in past generations (Maisto & Morris, 2005).

Comparing genes (heredity) and hormones provide insight into what makes humans behave in certain ways. Testosterone is a hormone that is linked to aggression and is more dominate in males than females. Psychologists are attempting to find a gene that is responsible for aggression similar to how testosterone affects it. In a study conducted in the Netherlands it was found that:

The gene coded for an enzyme involved in the metabolism of certain chemicals that...