Notes and Key Highlights essay

“Play It Again” by Richard Weinberg. Psychological theories tend to identify to what extent genes and environment affect the development of human identity and what makes individuals differ from one another. Two key findings are summarized as the following: “first, that high heritability of a phenotype does not mean that environment has no effects, and second, that heritability within groups cannot be generalized to heritability between groups”.

Behavioural genetics is fuelled by rapid development of technological advances, new research tools as, for example, longitudinal analysis, model fitting and multivariate analysis. Molecular genetics contribute significantly future of behavioural genetics. “How Nature Nurtures Nurture: Evolutionary Accounts of Culture” by David Kreiner. Human behavior is influenced by both biological and cultural factors, and distinction between them is a matter of particular interest for psychologists.

Cultural evolution is defined as the process of cultural process through Darwinian-line process. Cultural evolution has evolved through natural selection itself; not through the process similar to Darwin’s selection model, but the paradox is that that natural selection would hardly produce such behavior that would hold large groups together. The central question remains how culture has evolved through natural selection, and ‘Evolution and Culture’ enhance understanding of cultural evolution, natural selections and dependence between biology and human morality.

“The Nature of Sociobiology and the Nurture of an Understanding of Social Behaviour” by Dale Lott. Sociobiology deals with general conception of behaviour, social organization, adaptive skills, etc. Human behaviour has resulted from natural selection and, thus, it is transmitted genetically from generation to generation. Sociobiology views behaviour as genetic phenomenon and, thus, behaviour is affected by either environment or genes. The nature-nurture debate arises. Culture should not be treated as antithesis of nature.

Genes are not able to produce anything without the help of environment as nature and nurture are both important for patterns of social behaviour. The field of sociobiology needs new ideas, assumptions and arguments not to become exhausted. Radical behaviourist position is needed to construct hypothetical reinforcement to account for observed behaviour. The positive shift in nurture-nature debate is that the number of reports is increasing and new studies tend to refer to considerations of both environment and biology in modifying human behaviour.