Undergraduate Course: Behavioural Genetics (PSYL10161)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest in Psychology. This course introduces the research methods (primarily twin designs) used to estimate genetic and environmental influences on behaviour. In doing so the basic principles of genetic transmission and multifactorial inheritance are outlined. An overview of genetic and environmental findings in the areas of personality, cognitive abilities and mental illness will be presented. The implications of these findings for psychologists will be discussed, and the exciting directions (molecular, epigenetic, gene by environment interaction) that the rapidly advancing field of genetics is moving in will be highlighted.
The content of this course comprises 1) A historical view of behavior genetics, 2) an introduction to quantitative genetics including the principles of genetic transmission and multifactorial inheritance, 3) twin and family methodology for estimation of heritability and components of environmental variance (focusing on correlations and quick formulae to estimate these values plus specification of basic models in R), 4) an overview of heritability findings (including multivariate studies) for a range of psychological traits (personality, cognitive abilities, mental illness) and understanding what these mean, 5) measuring genetic variation and associating specific genes with behavior 6) moderation of genetic effects by age and the environment, 7) applications of genetics research for psychologists, 8) the future of behavioural genetics - exciting developments.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should be studying Psychology as their degree major, and have completed at least 3 Psychology courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. This course requires a minimum level of statistical understanding, the student should be familiar with the concepts of correlation, variance and covariance.
Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. **Please note that upper level Psychology courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||mid-term: short answers cap at 1000 words
final: 2500 word essay
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the biology of how genes influence behaviour
- Understand the research methods and basic statistics used to study genetic and environmental effects on behaviour
- Appreciate the applications of behavioural genetics in psychology
- Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of behavioural genetic designs
- Summarise the empirical literature on the genetics of key psychological traits
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Keywords||Behaviour genetics,genetic and environmental influences
|Course organiser||Dr Michelle Luciano
Tel: (0131 6)50 3603
|Course secretary||Ms Alex MacAndrew
Tel: (0131 6)51 3733