"Psychology 3-135 Intro to Individual Differences"
Psychology 3-135 Intro to Individual Differences Intro/Overview In-Class Ice Breaker • Sit next to your classmates and find out similarities/differences you have with him/her: – Basic info (name, major, etc.) – Obvious physical attributes – Not-so-obvious psychological attributes: • Along personality dimensions • Interests, attitudes, values, political viewpoints, etc. What about Psychological Variables? Intelligence? Personality? Proneness to Mental Illnesses? Social Attitudes? Interests? Religiosity? From Experimental Psych to Differential Psych • Experimental psychology: – examines psychological processes assumed to apply to everyone • Differential psychology: – examines the ways people differ Behavior Genetics The area of psychology concerned with the application of genetic methods and research designs to study the nature and origins of individual differences in humans and animal behavior. Why Care? 2 recent events: • Human Genome Project • Case of Bill and Kathy Human Genome Project (HGP) • Began 1990 • Sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) • $3 billion dollar endeavor • Goal: identify the approximately 30-80 thousand genes in various organisms’ DNA, including humans Human Genome Project (HGP) • Craig Venter of Celera Genomics Other Notable Progress • Complete sequences of the genomes for the following have been published: – Nematode – Fruit fly – Mustard plant – Mouse – Rat – Chimp • What’s the point of sequencing/mapping the genetic info for these animals and plants? What does this mean? • “Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century” • Medical applications (inherited diseases, common diseases—e.g., cancer) • Academic implications Matt Ridley, Genome (1999) Issues: Ethical, Moral, Legal Implications • Human genome data is providing rapid info on various disorders for inherited predispositions • Scientists may soon be able to make predictions about the future health of individuals (e.g., probability that someone may develop a particular cancer, or even schizophrenia) Issues: Ethical, Moral, Legal Implications • The myriad of hypothetical problems raised by such info is really boiled down to one word: Access • Question: Who should have access to this info, given that most of the research on the human genome is publicly funded? Should the public therefore have unlimited access to this info? What about health/life insurance companies? Or your potential employer? What about Psychology? -Genetics central to psychology: Bio Sciences---Genetics---Beh. Sciences -Other areas: psychiatric genetics, psychopharmacogenetics, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary theory, health, and aging psychology Class Poll Is Human Cloning morally or ethically wrong, and should it be banned in the U.S.? Case of Bill and Kathy Projected completion of cloning procedure: 2003 Panos Zavos, Ph.D. Kentucky-based embryologist/Reproductive Specialist Human Cloning Extending the Case Further… • 200 couples volunteer to participate in cloning attempts – Backed by massive private funding and organizations such as the U.S. National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering Public Policy, and the Board of Life Sciences • Zavos: “cloning will help us put an end to so many diseases, give infertile men (and women) the chance to have children…” • Caplan: “if you look at the carnage associated with animal cloning there is probably a ratio of about 290 dead embryos for every one that goes anywhere” How will this child develop? • IQ • Aspects of personality • Potential development of psychopathology