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Another perspective on the interaction between genes and the environment is the concept of genetic environmental correlation    . Stated simply, our genes influence our environment, and our environment influences the expression of our genes ( [link] ). Not only do our genes and environment interact, as in range of reaction, but they also influence one another bidirectionally. For example, the child of an NBA player would probably be exposed to basketball from an early age. Such exposure might allow the child to realize his or her full genetic, athletic potential. Thus, the parents’ genes, which the child shares, influence the child’s environment, and that environment, in turn, is well suited to support the child’s genetic potential.

Two jigsaw puzzle pieces are shown; one depicts images of houses, and the other depicts a helical DNA strand.
Nature and nurture work together like complex pieces of a human puzzle. The interaction of our environment and genes makes us the individuals we are. (credit "puzzle": modification of work by Cory Zanker; credit "houses": modification of work by Ben Salter; credit "DNA": modification of work by NHGRI)

In another approach to gene-environment interactions, the field of epigenetics    looks beyond the genotype itself and studies how the same genotype can be expressed in different ways. In other words, researchers study how the same genotype can lead to very different phenotypes. As mentioned earlier, gene expression is often influenced by environmental context in ways that are not entirely obvious. For instance, identical twins share the same genetic information ( identical twins    develop from a single fertilized egg that split, so the genetic material is exactly the same in each; in contrast, fraternal twins    develop from two different eggs fertilized by different sperm, so the genetic material varies as with non-twin siblings). But even with identical genes, there remains an incredible amount of variability in how gene expression can unfold over the course of each twin’s life. Sometimes, one twin will develop a disease and the other will not. In one example, Tiffany, an identical twin, died from cancer at age 7, but her twin, now 19 years old, has never had cancer. Although these individuals share an identical genotype, their phenotypes differ as a result of how that genetic information is expressed over time. The epigenetic perspective is very different from range of reaction, because here the genotype is not fixed and limited.

Genes affect more than our physical characteristics. Indeed, scientists have found genetic linkages to a number of behavioral characteristics, ranging from basic personality traits to sexual orientation to spirituality (for examples, see Mustanski et al., 2005; Comings, Gonzales, Saucier, Johnson,&MacMurray, 2000). Genes are also associated with temperament and a number of psychological disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia. So while it is true that genes provide the biological blueprints for our cells, tissues, organs, and body, they also have significant impact on our experiences and our behaviors.

Let’s look at the following findings regarding schizophrenia in light of our three views of gene-environment interactions. Which view do you think best explains this evidence?

In a study of people who were given up for adoption, adoptees whose biological mothers had schizophrenia and who had been raised in a disturbed family environment were much more likely to develop schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder than were any of the other groups in the study:

  • Of adoptees whose biological mothers had schizophrenia (high genetic risk) and who were raised in disturbed family environments, 36.8% were likely to develop schizophrenia.
  • Of adoptees whose biological mothers had schizophrenia (high genetic risk) and who were raised in healthy family environments, 5.8% were likely to develop schizophrenia.
  • Of adoptees with a low genetic risk (whose mothers did not have schizophrenia) and who were raised in disturbed family environments, 5.3% were likely to develop schizophrenia.
  • Of adoptees with a low genetic risk (whose mothers did not have schizophrenia) and who were raised in healthy family environments, 4.8% were likely to develop schizophrenia (Tienari et al., 2004).

The study shows that adoptees with high genetic risk were especially likely to develop schizophrenia only if they were raised in disturbed home environments. This research lends credibility to the notion that both genetic vulnerability and environmental stress are necessary for schizophrenia to develop, and that genes alone do not tell the full tale.

Summary

Genes are sequences of DNA that code for a particular trait. Different versions of a gene are called alleles—sometimes alleles can be classified as dominant or recessive. A dominant allele always results in the dominant phenotype. In order to exhibit a recessive phenotype, an individual must be homozygous for the recessive allele. Genes affect both physical and psychological characteristics. Ultimately, how and when a gene is expressed, and what the outcome will be—in terms of both physical and psychological characteristics—is a function of the interaction between our genes and our environments.

Personal application questions

You share half of your genetic makeup with each of your parents, but you are no doubt very different from both of them. Spend a few minutes jotting down the similarities and differences between you and your parents. How do you think your unique environment and experiences have contributed to some of the differences you see?

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Questions & Answers

when young children speak in short phrases using verbs and nouns,what it is referred to
Simran Reply
how old? generally that's how kids talk isn't it?
Ezra
especially shy ones
Ezra
slang
Emma
what are the social psychology concepts
MICOT Reply
their are about seven main theories... hope someone could help out with main one and their characteristic
Neelkanth
the self concept, social cognition, attribution theory, social influence, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal processes, aggression, attitudes and stereotypes.
Deepa
what is different between psychoanalysis, psychopathology?
salma
when do children form oppions
Tasha Reply
they sit in home and play home toys
muhammad
oppions?
Grace
How to know other person
RAGHAV Reply
what is the nature and scope of biopsychology?
Pratibha Reply
working along with neurologists and doctors closely on the field related to brain and nerves
devesh
How can one over come a sleep debt
Andy Reply
how does an algorithm save you time and energy when solving a problem
john Reply
by directing your attention or misdirecting your attention to a particular topic
frederick
can an obsession with blood and Gore be caused by psychological trauma
Dalton Reply
psychological trauma is a bit of a wild card in the case of long term effects. everyone has their own unique experience and I dont see why the example in your question couldn't be a possible manifestation.
Elle
it would be a bigger possibility of this resulting from trauma if this began after you witnessed a violent or gory event. however this often comes from the amount of violence and gore we are exposed to through social media, the news, and fictional material like books, movies and video games.
andrina
how can the bipolar and mood disorder can prevent?
Shana Reply
Control stress. Stress is a major bipolar trigger. ... If you would control stress you will simply feel good ....if you want to know more about this DM @shana mae
KhaLid
That brings us to the next question.. How do we actually control stress in an effective way?
Looney
well for me mindfulness meditation techniques are very much effective for coping with stress ....
KhaLid
please what are the major things I need to know now in psychology,because I'm a new student of psychology.
Godwin
Godwin if it is your begining in this field you should first clear some concepts like what is psychology it's etymology , structuralism,functionalism , behaviourism and many other perspectives .....
KhaLid
first of all are you studying in psychology or working as a psychologist
muhammad
studying Sir
Godwin
Thank you Sir Khalid.
Godwin
Muhammad Akram Both ☺️
KhaLid
Far too often, you can't control stress just like that on your own . And it will affect you On subconscious level . When it comes to meditation it's something to take seriously and best to be taught by professional.
Kira
I know there are many other ways but I found this one at my own Kira Emerala!
KhaLid
Hi friends
RAJABU
it can't be extracted I'll tell u that much
Shawnte
someone who study psychology here need help ? anyone ?
khawla
Can I ask for tips when you have no motivation and can't focus with your studies?
Jhea
For Shana, I'm sorry, I can't answer your concern at the moment, because I'm still studying about the basics of psychology 😬
Daydreaming
do meditation, start learning few pages initially n understand before moving to another topic
mini
play a sport of your choice for half an hour or listen to your fav music, develop your positive outlook towards life
mini
learn to balance work play study
mini
n health
mini
I'm struggling with BPD cptsd major anxiety disorders and going to college for a psychology degree. trying to maintain motivation is difficult. what can I do?
Sarah
I already meditate take my meds use biofeedback and several other things
Sarah
As a student, it is normal to lose motivation during college life but look at the long term goal. What do you want to achieve at the end? Divide it into small achieveable goals. Once you achieve it, focus on 2nd small goal. Last thing, it's okay to ask for help when needed. We are all in a journey.
mehdi
what's your friend's circle
muhammad
khawla saadouni yes how can I help you ?
KhaLid
Sarah you need CBT it will be effective on that what you are experiencing !!
KhaLid
implicit memory are those type of memories which can be written without any unconsciousness
Aayu Reply
m interested in this research...
Arnav
me too plz I am suffering from depression so v forgetful which has ruined my life
Sins
yes plank youth
Shawnte
0rayers poracles a d majik
Shawnte
cuffed truthfullcreatibeclarity
Shawnte
sins saintly do you need any help regarding how to cope up ?
KhaLid
nebieiluvrue
Shawnte
yes
Shawnte
what do you mean by sensory memory
Aayu Reply
sensory memory simply is an automatic response, not under conscious control. It deals with the input from the senses. 
KhaLid
what is the name of a person who introduction the techniques of factors analysis in intelligence
JobJoy Reply
what is associated with the developmental
JobJoy
lifelong spiritual advice
Zach Reply
Can you define spiritual Zach?
Emely
Are teeth part of our minds?
Kamil
who introduced the technique of factor analysis in intelligence
JobJoy Reply
Spearman's (1904)
Stephen
apart from Spearmans 1904 who again
JobJoy
Howard Garner
Komal
what scattered and worn triage has created upon resisting the internal anabalistic instinct to kill and conquer
Shawnte Reply
can anyone please recommend me some good psychology books?
Fareha
Id love to help but i would need to know about you.
Shawnte
Hahahahaha
Zain
Hey, I'm a 2nd year college student doing majors in psychology, i really love to read about different psychological concepts that effect us today's world, it would be great if you could recommend any books, thanks.
Fareha
lol @zain its ok i hope i get some books recommend too now
Fareha
anything related to the today's worlds issues and its factors related to the psychological effects
Fareha
obviously psychological concepts that effect about us today related to that @mujtaba
KhaLid
fareha Fatima have you ever read any book related to emotional intelligence?
KhaLid
@Khalid yes i did a few you can recommend me any book anyways
Fareha
thank you @Mujtaba i just downloaded the pdf.
Fareha
interesting emotional intelligence?
Sheila
interpretation of dreams sigmund frued behaviourism by JB Watson the ego and the Id by Sigmund frued
KhaLid
emotional waring made me mick bravery to even introduce my superiority complex without hiding...
Shawnte
yes especially by Daniel Goleman@sheila Henderson
KhaLid
how do i determine if im schizo because the voices i somtimes hear/feel are real.. it dosnt help my borderline personality disorder
Edward
Edward those types of labels are just words trying to capture the equation of some phenomenal behavioristic traits some have been both cursed and blessed with.
Shawnte
@Fareha erich fromm is very interesting
Mal
@Fareha read about personality by Sigmund Frued, Albert Adler & Eric Fromm..... & read about School of thoughts of Psychology...
Zain
electric field lines never cross why?
Hejab

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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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