The end of behavioral genetics?

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30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although genetic models were in the ascendance within psychology during the early 20th century, the association of early behavioral genetic research with the eugenics movement served to discredit the field in the eyes of many. Twin and adoption studies throughout the latter half of the 20th century helped to reestablish the importance of behavioral genetic models and set the stage for the current focus of the field on developing and testing models of gene-environment interplay. Research findings on developmental behavioral genetic research, gene-environment interaction, and the use of behavioral genetic models to test causal hypotheses are used to highlight the contributions of contemporary behavioral genetic research to psychological research. It is argued that future efforts to investigate models of gene-environment interplay will depend heavily on the field's ability to identify the specific genetic variants that contribute to individual differences in behavior. The anticipated yield from genome-wide association studies gives much reason to be optimistic about the future vitality of behavior genetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-296
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior genetics
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • Eugenics
  • Galton
  • Gene-environment interplay
  • Natural experiments
  • Twin and adoption research

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