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PEP014: Behavioral Genetics

Course Fee: $750

Presented by Richard A. Sherman, Ph.D.

Richard A. Sherman

Richard A. Sherman

M.S., Ph.D. (Program Director)

This course explores the impact of genetics on human behavior in relation to the environment.  Behavioral genetics addresses questions such as: “How do genes determine behavior? How much of behavior is nature versus nurture? How do behaviors evolve?”  The course and its text provide “a range of examples, such as laboratory studies on flies and mice, field observations on species as diverse as butterflies and meerkats, as well as human behavioral disorders. Students will become familiar with “genetic principles with neurobiological and ecological perspectives so they learn how to find and map genes that affect behaviors. They will also learn how the coordinated expression of ensembles of these genes enables the nervous system to express complex behaviors in response to changes in the environment”.

Additional Information: NOTE: This is an advanced genetics course – not a psychology course. Do not take this course unless you have the background in biology and math needed for this course. You must be familiar with basic genetics, advanced algebra, and beginning calculus to take this course.

 

Course Learning objectives and Assessment of Student Learning

As a result of taking this course:

  1. Students will be able to describe and explain the basic mechanisms of human genetics as applied to evolution and expression of behaviors. Supports PLOs 1 & 4 and is supported by module 1.
  2. Students will be able to list and describe typical techniques used to measure behavioral variation in the lab and field. Supports PLOs 1 & 4 and is supported by modules 1-8.
  3. Students will be able to describe and explain the basic concepts of variation and heritability of traits in populations. Supports PLOs 1 & 4 and is supported by modules 1-8.
  4. Students will be able to list and describe the proven genetic contributions to human behavior and how they are modified by the environment. Supports PLOs 1 & 4 and is supported by modules 1-8.
  5. Students will be able to explain how to use knowledge of human behavioral genetics for both social and clinical interventions. Supports PLOs 1 & 4 and is supported by modules 1-8.

Required Textbook

Anholt, R.H., Mackay, T (2009). Principles of Behavioral Genetics. ISBN 9780123725752. New York, N.Y.: Elsevier. About $65 new, $25 used.

 

Tasks to meet the above course objectives / Required Assignments:

This course requires students to review/ attend 13 prerecorded master lectures at the student’s convenience within the time permitted for each module. Each lecture is about an hour each. Students will answer a set of review questions for each module. Each question will take about twenty minutes to answer.

Assignment:  Complete the 9 modules in this course. Each module includes Listening to Master Lecture Recordings, Reviewing Readings, and Answering Review Questions. Attend 13 master lectures distributed in the 9 course modules. The lectures are pre-recorded and can be watched at the student’s convenience within the assigned time frame. Complete assigned readings for each course module.  Then, document your learning by submitting answers to the review questions related to 7 of the modules. There are 7 sets of review questions which you will submit through canvas after watching / attending each lecture and doing the course reading. Each question should be answered in one hundred words or less and take you about ten minutes to answer. Before answering a set of review questions, ensure that you have viewed / attended the lecture associated with the questions and have read the correct material in the texts. Fifteen points per set = total of 105 points toward your grade.

  • When you submit a set of review questions, label it with its topic number rather than the lecture number or book chapter number.
  • You must correct any mistakes you make. When you re-submit a set of questions for re-review, you must include the instructor’s comments and mark your changes in a different color or they will not be reviewed because otherwise the instructor would have to re-read your entire submission.
  • Many students ask questions about course material and how the material relates to their practices, etc. when they email their responses to the review questions. Feel free to do this or send separate emails. Phone calls are always welcome by appointment.

Activities during each module

Module 1: Overview of behavioral genetics and its relationship to other fields

 

Module 1 – Overview: History of the development of behavioral genetics and summary of what we know now – especially epigenetics.

Module 1 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Discuss and summarize the key points in the development of behavioral genetics.
  2. List and summarize the major elements of behavioral genetics.

                 

Module 1 Lectures and Readings:

Attend lectures 1 & 2.  Both are recorded talks.

Read chapter 1 in the text.

If you have not already read these text files in previous courses or in the Sherman Research Book Fifth Edition 2021, please do: Credibility – Fatal flaws, Critiquing studies, and Interpreting Analyses of Psychophysiological Literature

 

Module 1 Assignments

  1. No review questions due.

 

 

Module 2: Review of brain mechanisms 

 

Module 2 – Overview: This module covers basic brain mechanisms including (a) mechanisms of neural communication and (b) organization of the nervous system.

Module 2 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

Explain the mechanisms of neural communication.  

Explain and describe the organization of the peripheral and central nervous system.

                 

Module 2 Lectures and Readings:

Attend lecture 3

Read chapters 2 & 3 in the text.

Read text file gene for big brain

 

Module 2 Assignments

Answer the following review questions located in the text:

Chapter 2: Questions 3, 4, 8, and 9

Chapter 3: Questions 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9

 

Module 3: Techniques of measuring behavioral variation in the lab and field

 

Module 3 – Overview: This module covers:

  1. Sources of variation (environment, genetics, etc.)
  2. Behavioral analysis techniques
  3. Random mating doesn’t really exist.
  4. Relating genotypes to phenotypes in populations.

 

Module 3 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Identify and explain sources of variation (environment, genetics, etc.)
  2. Explain typical behavioral analysis techniques
  3. Discuss and Explain why random mating doesn’t really exist.
  4. Explain how to relate genotypes to phenotypes in populations.

 

Module 3 Lectures and Readings:

Attend lecture 4 and

Read chapters 4 & 5 in the text.

Module 3 Assignments

Answer the following review questions located in the text:

Chapter 4: 1, 2, & 7

Chapter 5: 1, 3, 8, & 9

 

Module 4:  Variation and heritability

 

Module 4 – Overview: This module covers variation and heritability including:

  1. Estimating variance in random mating populations

 

  1. Heritability concepts

 

  1. Estimating Heritability

 

Module 4 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Explain how to estimate variance in random mating populations.
  2. Discuss and explain the major heritability concepts.
  3. Explain how to estimate heritability.

  

Module 4 Lectures and Readings:

Attend lecture 5

Read chapters 6 & 7 in the text.

 

Module 4 Assignments

Answer the following review questions located in the text:

Chapter 6: 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, & 12

Chapter 7: 1, 4, 7, & 10

 

Module 5 : Mapping the locus of complex traits within and across chromosomes and looking at the entire genome  

 

Module 5 – Overview: This module covers mapping the locus of complex traits within and across chromosomes and looking at the entire genome including:

  1. Mapping the locus of traits
  2. Causes & sources of changes in the genome
  3. Analysis of whole genomes
  4. Plasticity
  5. Genetic Networks

 

Module 5 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Describe how to map the locus of traits
  2. Discuss & explain causes & sources of changes in the genome.
  3. Explain techniques for analysis of whole genomes.
  4. Describe the concept of genetic plasticity.
  5. Explain what genetic networks are.

 

Module 5 Lectures and Readings:

Attend lectures 6 and

Read chapters 8, 9, and 10.

Read text files genes for neuropathic pain and genes for mental illness

Module 5 Assignments

Answer the following review questions located in the text:

 

Chapter 8: Questions 1 & 2

Chapter 9:  Questions 1 & 6

Chapter 10: Questions 1 & 12

 

Module 6: Genetics of behavior 1 – activity, sleep, olfaction, and taste

 

Module 6 – Overview: This module covers:

  1. Genetics of activity / sleep cycles.

 

  1. Genetics of olfaction and taste.

 

Module 6 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the genetics of activity / sleep cycles and explain the typical experiments used to evaluate the underlying genetics.

 

  1. Explain and discuss the genetics of olfaction and taste.

                 

Module 6 Lectures and Readings:

Attend lectures 7 & 8.

Read chapters 11 & 13 in the text.

 

Module 6 Assignments

Answer the following review questions located in the text:

Chapter 11: 1, 2, & 8.

Chapter 13: 1, 3, 7, & 8.

 

Module 7: Genetics of behavior 2 – social interactions & hierarchies, learning & memory, & addiction

 

Module 7 – Overview: This module covers:

  1. Genetics of social interactions and social structures.
  2. Genetics of learning and memory.
  3. Genetics of addiction.

 

Module 7 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the genetic controls of social interactions and social structures.
  2. Discuss how genetics impacts both learning and memory.
  3. Explain how the genetics of addiction are determined relative to environmental factors.

 

Module 7 Lectures and Readings:

  1. Attend lectures 9 & 10
  2. Read chapters 12, 14, & 15 in the text.
  3. Read text files: Dog genes for social behavior, Emotionality in mice, genetic bases of mental illness, Gene which decreases stress of social interaction.

Module 7 Assignments

Answer the following review questions located in the text:

Chapter 12: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, & 14

Chapter 14:  1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, & 16

Chapter 15:  3, 4, 8, 10, & 12

 

Module 8: Evolution, epigenetics, and use of knowledge of behavioral genetics for social and clinical interventions.

 

Module 8 – Overview: This module covers:

  1. Evolution of Behavior.
  2. Behavioral Epigenetics (Behavioral epigenetics refers to the study of how signals from the environment trigger molecular biological changes that modify what goes on in brain cells.).
  3. Uses of knowledge of behavioral genetics for social and clinical interventions.

Module 8 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Explain the interaction between genetics and evolution of behavior.
  2. Explain the concept of behavioral epigenetics and describe how it impacts human behavior within and across generations.
  3. Describe how knowledge of behavioral genetics could be used for social and clinical

interventions.

 

 

Module 8 Lectures and Readings:

  1. Attend prerecorded lectures 11, 12, & 13. (When attending, remember than the gender of crocodiles is determined by temperature of the surrounding water rather than set genetics so is an epigenetic phenomenon.)

2. Read chapter 16 in the text. View you tube video of TED talk on epigenetics by Nessa Carey 8 April, 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DAcJSAM_BA&feature=youtu.be

3. Read text files: Epigenetics of Dutch Famine, Poor research on genetics of violence, Fox2 and the evolution of language, genetic vulnerability to menthol cigarettes.

Module 8 Assignments

Answer the following review questions located in chapter 16 of the text: 1, 3, 5, 7, 12, 13, & 14.

 

Module 9: Course Conclusion.

 

Module 9 – Overview: This module covers concluding remarks and discussions

Module 9 – Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module students should be able to:

  1. Summarize the course material.
  2. Explain how they can apply the material they learned to their own lives and professions.

 

Module 9 Lectures and Readings: None

Module 9 Assignments

  1. No review questions due.

END OF MODULE DESCRIPTIONS.

 

 

 

CE Credit:

These are continuing education, not university accredited, courses. The Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

BCIA:

This course is accepted by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance for recertification continuing education.

Payment, Refund, Scholarship, and cancellation policies:  

Full payment for each course is required before access to the course is provided. Payment is by credit card though our web site’s secure ordering section or by check in US dollars made out to the Foundation and sent to the address below. Full refund will be made until students are given access to the course materials. After getting access to the course materials there is no refund at all as the Foundation has committed its resources to you and you have access to all of the course materials. A course would only be cancelled due to an extreme emergency on the part of the course instructor or the Foundation. In the highly unlikely event a course is cancelled, you would receive a full refund.

Scholarships: 

The Foundation gives scholarships consisting of 25% off the cost of the course(s) to (a) students and professionals (e.g. clinicians, coaches, teachers) from emerging nations and (b) full time graduate students in developed nations.

Course updates:

Updates to all courses are placed on the course web site as they are made. Students are informed when updates are available. 

Questions / further information?

Contact Dr. Richard Sherman (director of the psychophysiology CE and doctoral programs) at rsherman@nwinet.com or 1.800.530.6658.

Administrative Information

Conflict of Interest: Neither the Behavioral Medicine Research & Training Foundation, its staff, nor the course instructor have any conflict of interest involving materials presented in this course.

Student comments about the courses and instructors:

Students who wish to comment about the courses and instructors other than through the “end of course” evaluations may wish to use the Foundation’s account at the anonymous comment submission site Incogneato (www.incognea.to). When a student submits a comment to our account (https://ansr.me/VWv70on the site, there is no way for us to know who sent the comment unless the student provides an email. Students are always welcome to submit comments to this site. We take them very seriously.

Students who wish to make a formal complaint about a course or instructor can do so by following the Foundation’s grievance process which is detailed in the document by that name. Students can request the document from the program’s administrator by emailing admin@behavmedfourndation.org.