Developmental Psychology

Q.(3.a). Whatever we are, it is because of Genes. Discuss 15 Marks (CSE 2017)

13 thoughts on “Developmental Psychology”

  1. Genes form the very basis of our biological formation determining the hereditary influences on our development.Genes control both physical traits like eye colour, hair colour etc. and complex psychological characteristics like temperament and intelligence. Physical trait is determined by the inheritance of combination of recessive and dominant genes. The recessive physical traits becomes dominant only when there is an absence of dominant gene in the paired genes.Similarly psychological characteristics like bad temperament or low intelligence also can be controlled by genes. Genes are the building blocks of our physical and psychological characteristics,and physical and psychological characteristics make us whatever we are. Hence it can be said whatever we are, it is because of genes.
    Although genes play a prominent role in determining our personality but the environmental factors like the parenting style, peers, society and culture also shape aur values and beliefs and hence make up us personality. So it can be said that the genes and environment together work upon on us to make us whatever we are.
    Adoption and twin studies have shown that genes also play an inherent role in determining the temperament or intelligence of a child apart from the environmental factors.

  2. A zygote formed by fusion of a sperm and an egg , containing millions of genes, forms the basis of a biological human being. This zygote then multiplies to form billions of cell that construct a human body. The cell multiplication means gene multiplication. Thus , whatever traits an individual displays , is essentially a result of his/ her genetic material.
    Dominant genes from either of parents and recessive genes from both the parents give an individual a unique physique like height, weight, skin colour, voice tone , etc, different mental strengths , emotional stability and also proneness to acquire certain diseases. Hence what we are , is a product of our genetic design.

    Role of genes becomes more profound when we look at studies conducted on twins. Twins, no doubt, have identical genes. When they are reared apart in two contrasting environments, it was observed that they still display significant similarities. This result can obviously be attributed to similarity in their genes.
    Hence role of genes in making a human is impactful.

  3. Development is a process of progressive , orderly and predictable changes that begin at conception and continue throughout life. Biological factor is major contributor to this. Development due to biological factors such as height, weight, skin and eye colour and even that of heart, lungs, brain etc are attributed to the genes. The genes are inherited to us from our parents which provides a blueprint for development.
    Suppose any person is short .. then he/she shall remain the same irrespective to the environment to which he/she is exposed.
    Even a study by Sandra Scarr (1992) says that the environment parents provide for their children depends to some extent on their own genetic predisposition.
    All this tells that genes play major role in our development. However it is not the only factor. The environment also is major determinant of development. Major cognitive abilities like memory, thinking, etc are developed due to the environment that one has been living in.
    Thus today who we are is not due to genes alone but due to interaction between environment and heredity both.

  4. Development psychology is the field of psychology that studies how and why human behaviour changes through life. To study these changes, biological and environmental perspectives are taken into account. Twin studies are instrumental in studying genes.
    There are two types of twins: fraternal (dizygotic) and identical (monozygotic) twins. Dizygotic twins come from two different sperm and two different eggs and share 50% of their genetic material, like any brother or sister. Identical twins, by contrast, come from one zygote (fertilized egg) that splits and grows into two individuals. Identical twins, alone among humans, share 100% of their genetic material.
    Study of identical twins reared in same environment and, even in dissimilar environments, provides us with results that show similarity in their behavior in many respects. This shows that gene influences our behaviour and by extension our personality. Therefore the premise ‘Whatever we are, is because of our genes’ seems true.
    However, twin studies, especially identical twins who are brought up in different environment also show differences in various traits and habits. This shows that not just our genes but also our environment also influences our behaviour. In recent times, developmental psychology has established that development is an eco-biological process. So the above premise can be modified to ‘Whatever we are, it is because of our genes as well as environment’.

    1. Nice effort
      Try to be more precise. Don’t add unnecessary description ( for example,… There are two types of twins: fraternal (dizygotic) and identical (monozygotic) twins. Dizygotic twins come from two different sperm and two different eggs and share 50% of their genetic material, like any brother or sister. Identical twins, by contrast, come from one zygote (fertilized egg) that splits and grows into two individuals. Identical twins, alone among humans, share 100% of their genetic material…. This description is not required in the answer.)
      Rather focus upon the exact logic and evidences to discuss the issue empirically.

  5. Genes serves as the bridge between transfer of characteristics from parents to their children during reproduction. The genetic heritage we acquire from our parents is called as “genotype” , while our observable traits are called as “phenotype”.

    Development in homo sapiens is a result of their own genetic endowments and environmental influences (culture,experience etc). But genes are always dominant as compared to external factors. Example- A person with ‘short’ height genes even if provided with all the nutrients will never get taller than the average . According to Sandra Scarr (1922), the environment children are provided by their parents is ultimately result of their own genetic predisposition.

    ‘Twin study’ provides us with a very beautiful insight into role of genes . A study on “Jim Twins”, shows us that identical twins reared apart had high correlation in their life pattern i.e., they vacated on the same beach, had a habit of biting nails, suffered from similar tension headaches and even preferred same cigarette brand for smoking .

    So, the genes are skeleton which provides contour for all the development to take place . Hence, the statement “whatever we are is because of genes” is very true in context of human development.

    1. Substance of the answer is better than several answers written by other students but coherence ideas and conclusion require improvement.

  6. We were developing ourselves continuously from the moment when the zygote get formed. From that time, our genes plays a dominant role in our development which shape us physically, culturally,etc.

    Gene, presence in our DNA, is a major biological factor in development of our physical traits such as height, our skin color, eye color,hair color, etc. Major evidence of gene lies in the study of twins, when they reared apart in distinct environment and socio-cultural situation. They show some general characteristics present in both.

    Although gene has a profound role in whatever we are today but the environment in which we were reared has also a dominant role. As only genetic characterisics cannot be solely led to the development of human being. Rather we can say that, gene is steel frame on which the environment and culture worked as the other material to build, what we are today.

    Therefore, it can be said that gene is the base on which we were built ourselves with other determinant of development.

  7. Various studies show that most aspects of human development are strongly influenced by the genetic make-up of the child, for example, identical twins study shows, how despite reared in different environment they show similar physical features and learning ability. Genetically advanced kids show strong learning ability.
    However, genes alone don’t influence the development of individuals. It’s influenced by the environment too. For examples, an individual is genetically strong and has long height trait but his height can be stunted by poor nutrition and learning ability limited by poverty.
    Today, psychologists believe that both genes and environment influence the development of individuals. They agree that it involves complex interaction of both nature and nurture.
    While the genetic instructions a child inherit from his parents may set out a roadmap for development, the environment can impact how their direction are expressed or even silenced.
    So it can’t be said that whatever we are, it is because of gene. Instead, it should be said that part of what we are is because of genes.

    1. The structure of the answer is quite appropriate. The content however requires more substance as the question carries 15 Marks. Add a few studies briefly. The conclusion part is just appropriate

  8. The right approach :
    To discuss the statement, “whatever we are, it is because of Genes”. we need to discuss a few studies that show extreme effects of genes “. For example, identical twin’s studies on mental abilities ( verbal and non verbal/spatial reasoning) show that such abilities have genetic basis. So are the several physical traits like height, facial texture etc.
    Personality related attributes like introversion, emotional stability etc are also largely ( but not fully) determined by genes.
    No study however proves that only genes cause such traits and behaviours. An individual’s biological inheritance interacts with his physical and Socio-Cultural forces. He forms social relationships that also regulate his emotions and behaviour. (Bowlby, Anishworth).
    # You are required to add a few experimental and correlational studies here very briefly.

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