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A topical approach to life span development, 6e chapter 2

Biological Beginnings
Chapter 2

The Evolutionary

Natural selection

Those individuals of a species that are a best
adapted are the ones that survive and reproduce.

They pass on their characteristics to the next

They are better adapted to their world than nonsurvivors

Charles Darwin

The Evolutionary

Evolutionary Psychology

Emphasizes the importance of adaptation,
reproduction, and "survival of the fittest" in
shaping behavior

Behaviors that increase reproductive success

How we make decisions, how aggressive we are,
our fears, and our mating patterns

Genetic Foundations of

Genetic influences on behavior evolved over time
and across many species.

DNA - not just inherited from parents, but what we
inherited as a species from other species, that were
our ancestors.

Genetic Foundations of

Chromosomes- structures made up of DNA

The nucleus of each human cell contains

DNA- Complex molecule that contains genetic

Genes- The units of hereditary information, short
segments of DNA

Genetic Foundations of

Genes are passed on through 3 processes

Mitosis- cell reproduction, cells nucleus duplicates
and the cell divides

Meiosis- cell division that occurs to form eggs and
sperm (Gametes)

Fertilization-egg and sperm fuse to create a
single cell, call a zygote

Genetic Foundations of

Genotype-A persons genetic heritage; the actual
genetic material

Phenotype-The way an individual genotype is
expressed in observed and measurable

Physical characteristics and psychological

Genetic Foundations of

Chromosomal Abnormalities (see chart in text)

Down Syndrome - Mild to severe intellectual disability and
physical abnormalities

Klinefelter syndrome (XXY)- physical abnormalities

Fragile X syndrome- intellectual disability, learning disability,
short term attention span

Turner Syndrome (XO)-intellectual disability and sexual

XYY syndrome- above average height

Genetic Foundations of

Gene-linked abnormalities (Mental concerns) - see
chart in text

Huntington disease - problems with muscle
coordination and mental deterioration

Phenylketonuria (PKU) - intellectual disability

Spina Bifida - brain and spine abnormalities

Tay-Sachs disease- deceleration of mental and
physical development

Genetic Foundations of

Genetic Counselor

Identify and analyze inheritance patterns and
explore options with the family

Understand the kinds of problems, the odds of
encountering them, and helpful strategies for
offsetting some of their effects


Increased Diversity

No income requirements

Wide range of backgrounds

Single adults, gay and lesbian adults, other family

50% of US adoptions occur through the foster
care system

Adoption Outcomes
Higher risk for:

Externalizing (aggression and conduct problems)

Internalizing (anxiety and depression)

Attention problems (ADHD)

But majority adjust effectively

Adoption Outcomes

Do better than children raised in long-term foster care

Very early adopted do better than later adopted

Open adoption (sharing identifying information of birth

Yields positive results in many studies for children
and birth mothers

Closed adoption (non sharing of info)

Parenting Adopted Children

Parents need to recognize the unique differences in
adoptive family life

Communicate about these differences

Show respect for the birth family

Support the child's search for self and identity

Parenting Adopted Children

Infancy: Counselors can help prospective adoptive
parents develop realistic expectations

Early childhood: 4-6 years is a natural time to begin to
talk in simple ways to children about heir adoption status

Middle and late childhood: Recognize that ambivalence is
normal (mixed feelings and questions)

Adolescence: Understand the complexity of the
adolescents identity exploration and be patient with their
lengthy identity search

Behavior Genetics

The field that seeks to discover the influence of heredity
and environment on individual difference in human traits
and development.

Twin Studies- behavioral similarity of identical twins
compared with fraternal twins (identical twins with more
conduct problems)

Adoption studies- the behavior and psychological
characteristics of adopted children are more like those of
their adoptive parents, or more like those of the biological

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