Behavior Genetics: Principles and Applications

Behavior Genetics: Principles and Applications

Behavior Genetics: Principles and Applications

Behavior Genetics: Principles and Applications

Excerpt

Behavior Genetics: Principles and Applications is a collection of chapters by active research workers. It includes reviews of special areas within the field and discussions of interactions with other behavioral sciences such as psychology, ethology, and sociobiology. Applications to medicine, psychiatry, and education are also considered. One might say that the purpose of this book is to help in dealing with the problem implied by DeFries and Plomin (1978): "If a successful area is one in which the rate of publication is so great that no one person could keep up with the current literature and wouldn't understand all of it if he tried, then behavioral genetics is a rousing success [p. 473]." Our aim is to present summaries of the "state of the art" in a form that will be useful to researchers, teachers, and students in a variety of disciplines. Contributors were encouraged to integrate history, present knowledge, and projections for the future.

Although the book is not divided into sections there is some grouping of related chapters. Ehrman and Probber briefly summarize the fundamentals of genetics and evolutionary theory. Their contribution is particularly useful for readers desiring to brush up on biological basics. Claridge and Mangan, reviewing Western and Pavlovian approaches to human nervous system functioning, summarize a somewhat neglected literature on genes, neurophysiology, and personality. Simmel and Bagwell take up the present status of heritable variation in activity and exploration in animals, while introducing the more general problem of the definition and measurement of behavioral phenotypes. The chapter by Horowitz and Dudek deals primarily with experimental psychopharmacogenetics in animals, an area that has importance for the understanding of the biological base of individual differences among humans in response to psychoactive drugs.

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