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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain the basic principles of the theory of evolution by natural selection
  • Describe the differences between genotype and phenotype
  • Discuss how gene-environment interactions are critical for expression of physical and psychological characteristics

Psychological researchers study genetics in order to better understand the biological basis that contributes to certain behaviors. While all humans share certain biological mechanisms, we are each unique. And while our bodies have many of the same parts—brains and hormones and cells with genetic codes—these are expressed in a wide variety of behaviors, thoughts, and reactions.

Why do two people infected by the same disease have different outcomes: one surviving and one succumbing to the ailment? How are genetic diseases passed through family lines? Are there genetic components to psychological disorders, such as depression or schizophrenia? To what extent might there be a psychological basis to health conditions such as childhood obesity?

To explore these questions, let’s start by focusing on a specific disease, sickle-cell anemia , and how it might affect two infected sisters. Sickle-cell anemia is a genetic condition in which red blood cells, which are normally round, take on a crescent-like shape ( [link] ). The changed shape of these cells affects how they function: sickle-shaped cells can clog blood vessels and block blood flow, leading to high fever, severe pain, swelling, and tissue damage.

An illustration shows round and sickle-shaped blood cells.
Normal blood cells travel freely through the blood vessels, while sickle-shaped cells form blockages preventing blood flow.

Many people with sickle-cell anemia—and the particular genetic mutation that causes it—die at an early age. While the notion of “survival of the fittest” may suggest that people suffering from this disease have a low survival rate and therefore the disease will become less common, this is not the case. Despite the negative evolutionary effects associated with this genetic mutation, the sickle-cell gene remains relatively common among people of African descent. Why is this? The explanation is illustrated with the following scenario.

Imagine two young women—Luwi and Sena—sisters in rural Zambia, Africa. Luwi carries the gene for sickle-cell anemia; Sena does not carry the gene. Sickle-cell carriers have one copy of the sickle-cell gene but do not have full-blown sickle-cell anemia. They experience symptoms only if they are severely dehydrated or are deprived of oxygen (as in mountain climbing). Carriers are thought to be immune from malaria (an often deadly disease that is widespread in tropical climates) because changes in their blood chemistry and immune functioning prevent the malaria parasite from having its effects (Gong, Parikh, Rosenthal,&Greenhouse, 2013). However, full-blown sickle-cell anemia, with two copies of the sickle-cell gene, does not provide immunity to malaria.

While walking home from school, both sisters are bitten by mosquitos carrying the malaria parasite. Luwi does not get malaria because she carries the sickle-cell mutation. Sena, on the other hand, develops malaria and dies just two weeks later. Luwi survives and eventually has children, to whom she may pass on the sickle-cell mutation.

Questions & Answers

how did psychology begin?
Valerie Reply
of psychologys commencement, the traces can be seen in the work of Aristotle, where he talk about soul and body, likewise work in durrant, de anima, all these were somewhere supporting dualism, in which soul could exist separately from body
amaan
but if you talk about the moder psychology, Gustav fechner, is credited with performing scientific experiments, basis of his experiments in psychology with his studies perception.
amaan
does psychology deal with love?
Mohammed Reply
Maybe, i think
edem
I definitely would say yes
Clara
how so
Isaiah
*triarchic
Meredith
there are so many different reasons why you can fall in love with someone, many of them develope subconsciously -> psychology
Clara
love messes with the brain, a lot, ergo I believe that Psychology does indeed deal with love
what is synapse
Katie Reply
In the central nervous system, a synapse is a small gap at the end of a neuron that allows a signal to pass from one neuron to the next. synapse are found where nerve cells connect with other nerve cells
Najeem
can you do auto book auto
Mariah Reply
WHT u mean?
usef
yes
MD
heyy, may i join the conversation please?
edem Reply
who is the father of psychology
Richy Reply
aristatil
Ramadevi
and please, how would you guys, describe the study of psychology at college ?
edem
psychologist student?
Aspen
i mean not yet but am about to start college so wanna know how is it(college in general and psychology course) please
edem
Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. So if you will take psychology as a subject so you will get to know how your everything (physical, mental, social, spiritual aspects) effects your behaviour
sakina
With this brief knowledge you can help people to cope up with their problems and only you can guide them correctly
sakina
And if you go for further specialisations you can study hypnosis, face reading, body language etc
sakina
Thanks a lot🙏🏾 And ik some of the stuffs u said but i am also going to write thesis, right ?
edem
ok no prob, thanks a lot🙏🏾✨
edem
cerebellum
Khan
hae everyone, hope you are well this evning my question is what is the difference between drive and motivation
Michael
good question
Rainee
drive is more like an impulse or urge and i think they both go together (drive and motivation) even if there is a slight difference
edem
@ Michael Drive is delivered to be innate without the use of an external stimuli, motivation normally evolves an outside stimuli which may include praise, appreciate, or reward.
Reginald
*believed...sorry for typo
Reginald
@Reginald, can't the motivation come from the inner self?
edem
Good question, please give an example.
Reginald
can we say desire of success for example
edem
Wilhelm Wundt is the father of psychology
ipau
Wilhem Wundt thank you for the road that you opened.
Qwanta
You mean who is the father of having a great educated argumentative guess? nothing is more wrong than this question. The question is you should ask yourselfs is, how sure are you abour their scientific studying? one's percieved assimilated approach to judging another person and saying they are
Roger
the biggest problem with scientific research and data is that ya you could get the same result 1000 times then it could go the other way 1000 times, but we would never know that and we did, we would still say ya but the proof is there. The only thing science proves is that humanity has
Roger
no facts about human behavior in the scientific context, but more in the trial and error.. sorry to tell you, but so far no one has proven Father of anything, thats up to you and i, judgement is bias, science is good enough lazy
Roger
cognitive development is the growing and development of the brain.
Jessy Reply
Anyone knows about Techno-fascism?
Hussein Reply
Ecofascism is a theoretical political model in which an authoritarian government would require individuals to sacrifice their own interests to the "organic whole of nature". The term is also used as a rhetorical pejorative to undermine the environmental movement.
ipau
what's the big difference between prejudice and discrimination?
Danice Reply
A prejudiced person may not act on their attitude.  Therefore, someone can be prejudiced towards a certain group but not discriminate against them.  Also, prejudice includes all three components of an attitude (affective, behavioral and cognitive), whereas discrimination just involves behavior
Nancy Lee
hi
basher
hello
Rahul
what is all about cognitive development?
Kamohelo
cognitive development is the growing and development of the brain
Jessy
how do you control a variable when using spss whilst running a pearsons correlation analysis?
Jessie Reply
it dependa on your study. according to what you want to say and explain your result
Pouran
why does it say her and she
Jayla Reply
stages of cognitive development
brivia Reply
sensory preoperatinal concrete formal
Rajendra
what is psychology
Chethani Reply
the study of insecurities and the effect on the host .
Sera
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior & mental processes
Angela
psychology is science about learning human behaviour
Zhamshid
behaviorosm
Khan
In thinking about the case of Candace described earlier, do you think that Candace benefitted or suffered as a result of consistently being passed on to the next grade?
Nene Reply
what is reward
Angeles Reply
reward is a technique to change behaviour
Rajendra
Reward is a way to promote a specific behaviour or to teach someone/ something to behave a specific way or perform a specific task.
Johan
a reward is something that is usually associated with desirable behavior. The child got a reward for winning the game. A reinforcer is different in that a reinforcer is anything that increases behavior, even if it is increasing an undesirable behavior.
Meredith
reward is earned effort realized
freweini

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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