Genetic characteristics

In this piece of coursework I aim to find out whether a person’s behaviour is determined by their upbringing or by their genetic characteristics. The research is important because if we were to find that the way someone is is controlled by genetic factors then changing there behaviour will be extremely difficult. On the other hand if their social background determined someone’s behaviour then it could be far easier to deal with behavioural problems. This knowledge would be important to a wide range of professionals working with difficult persons (for instance psychiatrists prison officers child care workers probation officers etc).

I will look at two pieces of context and create a method to find out if my hypothesis is correct. I hypothesise that the way you are nurtured (i.e. social background/upbringing) will have the greatest effect For my first piece of context I am going to use the film L’Enfant sauvage. In the film we see how a feral child is captured and then taken to Paris to be studied by a doctor Itar. We see that once the boy has been moved to Paris he is clearly not like the other children. He is different in many ways such as, he dose not walk straight, does not react to loud noises in the same way as others and has no problem with walking around in his birthday suit.

While in France Doctor Itar tries to teach the boy how to act like a “normal child” and teach him how to talk, talk, eat etc. The doctor does manage to make him exhibit much more normal actions than originally, though he never talks. This is the most important indication that living in the wild changes how you act and that you can only ever do what you observe or are taught through social interaction. From this I can retrieve my firs concept that is; you act in a similar way to the people around you. As you act the same as them your genetics are made irrelevant.

My second piece of context is “23 deadly giveaways for a serial killer” by Louise Bowen. This is a newspaper article from “Health Works” that indicates 23 Physical features that would indicate whether someone is a serial killer. They did a study of the physical characteristics found on a selection of serial killers and discovered that many had similar physical characteristics. Therefore they are saying that your genetics control your actions as, the way some one looks is defined by there genetics and thus if some one who looks a certain way also acts a certain way this will also be controlled by genetics.

From this I am going to dram my second concept; people with similar genetics will act in a similar way. This would mean that a group of people with red hair should act differently to people with black hair, or that some one with bulbous fingertips is more likely to kill their family. As in all scientific tests the only way to examine any one factor is when all the others remain the same. There fore possibly the best way of testing whether nurture or nature is more influential would be to take two twins and separate them from birth. Leaving one to raise itself in the wild, while the other would be brought up in a more traditional manner. At the end of this the two people could be compared to see if there were any differences. However this raises many moral issues and would prove very timely and costly. So I would not imagine this would be possible to undertake.

I would like to propose a study of people with similar genetics and environment. As this will keep other effecting factors to a minimum. So if it was possible to find these people and have separate groups then we would be able study the differences from one group against the other. Many tribes in Africa do live in near exactly these conditions. I think if we were to observe the way people within these tribes interact with each other there may be differences between tribes. As these tribes will have similar genetics due to breeding between the tribes. Also they will share similar if not an identical environment due to being geographically close.

Any differences that are observed between the ways the people acted could only be down to social up bringing. However if the different tribes acted in a similar way it would indicate that nature was a more heavily contributing factor. To the way a person goes about there life. While undertaking our participant observation the main differences that I would be looking for would be the ones most normally associated with genetics. For example if it was notice that gender roles were reversed it would show that sex does not create a difference between genders. If we were to see that there were different levels of aggression or emotion this may also mean our behaviour leans towards Nurture.

As with all pieces of research there are many problems with it. The largest of these problems for my coursework proposal would be the cost. This would be due to such expenses as travel some sort of accommodation in the villages and food etc. I think on this reason alone it may be impossible. The amount of time that it would take to undertake the research would be phenomenal. As we would need to wait an amount of time before our presence became “normal”. Even after this the time when we were collecting the information from the villages would be long. Though as we would be collecting so much information on so many different aspects of there live it may take just as much time to analyse the data and present it in a way that it could be compared. The amount of time it would take would also increase the cost.

The quality of the data that we will collect may be pore for several reasons. The first and most important in my opinion would be the effect that we had on the people in the village even after an amount of time. With different people acting to different people in other ways we may find our data is unreliable. The information that we collect may be of a poor quality as it would not be in a very structured manner. This will make it difficult to compare between the tribes.

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