Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Behavioral Genetics and Health
Keith E. Whitfield
Behavioral genetics (also known as quantitative genetics) involves the examination of a wide range of factors for scientific investigation. The “behavior” in behavioral genetics is not limited to those studied by social scientists. From social behaviors such as attachment to psychological variables such as intelligence to health variables such as blood pressure, behavioral genetics approaches have been applied. Behavioral genetics originally became a field of inquiry, in part, in opposition to the developmental “environmentalist” view that only factors from the environment are involved in interindividual variability in the development of children. Just as erroneous a view is that genes are the most important factors involved in interindividual differences. Recent advances in molecular genetics techniques have significantly increased our ability to understand the contribution of genes to health and illness. However, the inclination to believe that genes account for all or none of the differences between people is “genetic determinism” and ...