Genetic Influences

  • Hugh Lytton


As we observed in Chapter 1, ethological methods and outlook have recently exerted considerable attraction on behavioral scientists and have led them to look at human behavioral characteristics from an evolutionary perspective. Thus, attachment behavior has been viewed from the point of view of its evolutionary significance (e.g., Bowlby, 1969), and so has compliance with the norms of the social group (e.g., Stayton et al., 1971). The emergence of sociobiology (Wilson, 1975), however embattled a theory it may be, is a pointer in the same direction. An evolutionary perspective, however, inevitably implies at least partial genetical control of behavior, as evidenced by the question: “Why does this kind of animal solve those problems of survival in this way? (What is the evolutionary history of the behavior?) ” (Blurton-Jones, 1974, p. 266). In the typical ethological study, it is assumed, from a knowledge of the animal’s ontogeny combined with observation, that learning plays little part in the development of certain kinds of behavior, which are then classified as innate. Both animal ethologists and those applying the ethological approach to human behavior have generally fought strangely shy of genetical studies proper (cf. Gould, 1974), though some exceptions exist (e.g., Freedman, 1974; Plomin & Rowe, 1979).


Twin Pair Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Significant Genetic Component California Psychological Inventory Great Genetic Similarity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugh Lytton
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of CalgaryCanada

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