Understanding Genetics

All traits and personality characteristics, from height to fear of heights, are driven by a complex interplay of genes and environmental feedback. We now know that the lion's share of human genes are expressed in the brain and that almost all normal and disordered behaviors are polygenic, meaning that they are influenced (not to say caused) by multiple genes. Scientists are therefore tasked with a massive but increasingly plausible mission: mapping the pathway from genes and mediating forces to the person you see in the mirror (known in biological parlance as the "phenotype").

Recent Posts on Genetics

What Do Women Look for in a Mate?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on May 04, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Some researchers have named those qualities that women look at in choosing a mate as the Three Gees - good genes, good providers, and good fathers. Men who can demonstrate all three of these qualities stand the greatest chance of winning the mate selection competition. But how important are these traits? New research from China puts the Three Gees to the test.

ADHD as a Continuum, Inside and Out

Some call ADHD a true brain disease while others call it pure nonsense. New evidence supporting the idea of ADHD as an extreme of normal trait variation demonstrates how everyone might be wrong.

Real Psychiatry and Darwinian Evolution are One and the Same

The basic principle for the development of human personality is at one with Darwinian evolution. Psychotherapy is the treatment that addresses the human issues in precisely the way they were constructed in the first place.

Do You Have the Personality of a Neanderthal?

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on April 26, 2015 in Caveman Politics
Almost all of us have some Neanderthal in us. What can that tell us about how these ancient cousins of ours thought?

You're Awake but You Can't Move

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on April 23, 2015 in Sleep Newzzz
If you experience sleep paralysis, don't panic, because it's a temporary and harmless condition that will soon pass.

How Attachment Styles Impact Attitudes Toward Infidelity

Why do people respond differently to sexual versus emotional infidelity? People's attachment style may be a crucial factor.

Perfectionism: Inherited or A Psychological Solution?

There are many articles and research that reference Perfectionism. The term can be loosely thrown around to assume that all perfectionism is an inherited trait. This may be true for some, but not others. Perhaps psychological experiences influence a person's perfectionism. In either case, not enough is known or understood to assert causation.

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Rules—But Whose Hand Is It?

The history of the nature/nurture controversy reveals fraud on the nurture side and developments in our view of nature that the imprinted brain theory readily explains.

A Twin Pioneer

By Nancy L Segal Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Twofold
Meet a Twin Pioneer

Expanding the Heart While Educating the Mind

By Dana Klisanin Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Digital Altruism
The Hippie gene has made its way into the Millennial’s DNA. The “old school” approach to work and education is not right for them. A Millennial would rather be a “freelancer” than a “cog-in-the-wheel” of so-called progress. Their highest aspiration is to become “independent freelancers and global citizens who make a difference in the world.”

Body Punishment

By The Book Brigade on April 16, 2015 in The Author Speaks
Obsessive-compulsive disorder takes many forms, but all of them involve repetitive behaviors that often create vicious cycles of anxiety and shame. Maggie Lamond Simone punished herself to maintain a public face—until the same disorder was diagnosed in her child. Only then did the healing begin.

Wired for Perfect Health

Your unconscious mind knows exactly what you need to be healthy. So why aren’t you?

Evolutionary Psychology Is Not About "Bettering the Species"

People often think that since "evolution" has a lot to do with speciation, then "evolutionary psychology" must be about "bettering the human species" in some way. It's not. At all. Read this if you want to know what evolutionary psychology is really about.

Are Distance Running and Reproductive Potential Connected?

Anthropologists at the University of Cambridge recently reported that males with higher "reproductive potential" may also be better distance runners. Why would being good at long-distance running have evolved to reflect a more desirable male gene pool?

Add Humor to Your Job and Boost Your Career

Take the brave step of experimenting with more well-placed humor at your job. By going outside your normal comfort zone with some easy-to-follow tips, you may develop a much more appealing work environment for yourself, and advance your career.

Sex Is Disgusting But We Keep Doing It

Disgust and sexual arousal seem at odds with each other but they're also more closely related than you might think.

When a Sociopath Is Hell Bent on Destroying You

By Carrie Barron M.D. on April 13, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Sociopaths (anti-social personality, psychopath) can decimate a life. The mental, emotional or physical trauma can be stunning. The aftermath of sociopathic is unique because the assault instills a dim world view, a shaky sense of safety and a feeling that one has been visited by evil. Here are 16 points of focus to begin recovery.

Microbes Are Holding the Reins to our Health

By Erica Sonnenburg Ph.D. on April 12, 2015 in The Good Gut
You are not alone. Your gut is teaming with bacteria that have been linked to everything from autism to obesity and may even be influencing your mood and behavior.

Happinesses

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in One Among Many
I found 26 blog posts on happiness in my blog archive. Here’s a list of them with a brief statement of contents for each. Peace and happiness!

The Making of a Murderer

From poverty to riches, serial killers to gang members, behind almost every violent person, there is a story of despair. Not every trauma creates a killer, but most killers are created from trauma.

What’s Bugging You?

A poor diet can disrupt the balance of our gut microbiome and lead to not only digestive health problems but also mood and behavioral disturbances.

Forgetting PTSD: How Genes Affect Memory

The tet1 gene plays a central role in forgetting traumatic experiences.

Recent Links Between Food and Mood

By Gary L Wenk Ph. D. on April 08, 2015 in Your Brain on Food
A poor diet that was high in saturate fats and caloric levels lead to depression. Fortunately, it is never too late to take advantage of the benefits of a healthy diet.

Can Healthy Living Reduce Cancer Risk? (Part Two of Two)

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 06, 2015 in Media Spotlight
According to available statistics, roughly fourteen million people worldwide were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2012 alone. That same year saw about eight million cancer deaths. How many of those deaths might have been prevented using available medical knowledge about cancer risks? And how many more cancer deaths can we expect over the next three decades?

8 Tips to Help Your Distractible Child Succeed

Learn these eight ways to coach your distractible child to success.

How to Find a Husband if You Only Have 60 Seconds

Science says it can be done if you put your faith in statistics

Calling Obesity a Disease Dooms Dieters

By Peter A. Ubel on April 02, 2015 in Critical Decisions
The better we succeed in convincing people that obesity is a disease, the less motivated obese people will be to fight back against these social and physiologic forces.

Madness in Civilization

Madness as a perennial problem, and the problems of contemporary biological reductionism.

The Flynn Effect as Adaptive Change

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in The Human Beast
All living creatures can change to fit in with their environment. Some of that flexibility is due to gene selection but a lot is developmental. The Flynn effect of rising IQ in developed countries is an enrichment effect of modern life. It arises due to the adaptive response of our brain to the increased challenges it faces.

Music, Math, and Sex

Could runaway sexual selection really be responsible for the evolution of music? What would that tell us about human nature?