Explaining individual differences in Behavioural Genomics: two steps forward, one step back

Kovas, Yulia and Malykh, S.. 2012. Explaining individual differences in Behavioural Genomics: two steps forward, one step back. International Journal of Psychology, 47(S1), p. 143. ISSN 0020-7594 [Article]

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In this talk we summarise the incredible advances recently made in the field of behavioural genetics. Quantitative Genetics, such as the Twin Method, has moved beyond simple estimations of the relative contributions of genes and environments to different traits. Recent statistical and theoretical advances allow us to ask questions about aetiological relationships between different traits, about genetic and environmental continuity across development, and about aetiological homogeneity/heterogeneity of different psychological constructs, such as general intelligence, mathematical ability, autism, or schizophrenia. The field of Molecular Genetics has also enjoyed incredible theoretical, analytic, and technological advances, leading to important breakthroughs in our understanding of the mechanisms by which genes contribute to the observed individual variation. These advances have enabled researchers to move into the new era – the era of Behavioural Genomics – where the search is on for the mechanisms of gene-environment interface. The search for the sources of individual variation has been likened to looking for a black cat in the dark room. The light is suddenly on, so where is the cat? We argue, that although progress in identifying the sources of individual variation from the behavioural genomic perspective has been slow, this approach holds great promise for psychology and education.

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January 2012Published

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25 Aug 2017 14:32

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29 Jun 2023 11:09

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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