Epigenetic Influences on Personality and Behavior

Prior to beginning work on this discussion, listen to the WNYC Studios (2012) podcast Inheritance

and read the Hurley (2013) Trait vs. Fate (attached)

the Weaver et al. (2004) Epigenetic Programming by Maternal Behavior,

and the Webster (2013) blog post The Great Rat Mother Switcheroo.

The recommended sources for this week provide additional information on these topics that may be helpful.

In this weeks required sources, you learned that while genes have a lot to say about who we are, environmental factors, particularly parental behavior, can shape the behavior of offspring on a biochemical level.

Briefly describe the research that has been done with rat mothers to illustrate this phenomenon. Be specific about the maternal behaviors and correlated biochemical changes to their offspring. This section demonstrates that you understand what research has been conducted and what the results mean, so be sure to go beyond quoting and paraphrasing to explain and interpret the research as you understand it.

Explain the implications of the research on parental behavior and environmental factors as they relate to human personality development.

Based on your understanding of the research cited in the required sources, assess the emerging field of epigenetics, explaining how it is impacting the longstanding nature versus nurture paradigm and evaluating the possible promise and risks with respect to the human experiments.


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