Developmental Psychology provides student readers with essential help in all aspects of their first course in developmental psychology, including advice on revising exams, preparing and writing course assessment materials, and enhancing and progressing their knowledge and skills in line with course requirements on a developmental psychology course.

Biological/Hereditary Influences on Development

Biological/hereditary influences on development

Core Areas

  • Behavioural Genetics
  • Co-dominance
  • Chromosomal and genetic abnormalities
  • Chromosomes
  • Extroversion
  • Family studies
  • Genotype
  • Introversion
  • IQ
  • Meiosis
  • Mitosis
  • Modifier genes
  • Phenotype
  • Selective breeding
  • Zygotes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section you should be able to:

  • define key terms;
  • understand the processes and methods involved in investigating the biological basis for behaviour;
  • outline how genes influence behaviour;
  • acknowledge the work of the key thinkers in this area;
  • outline the process of hereditary transmission;
  • consider the range of chromosomal and genetic abnormalities/disorders that occur;
  • describe and evaluate hereditary influences on IQ and personality.

Running Themes

  • Ecological validity
  • Ethology
  • Ethics
  • Nature
  • Nurture


Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911) was the first scientist to study heredity and human behaviour systematically. Human behavioural genetics attempts to understand both the genetic and environmental contributions to individual variations in human behaviour. (

This is tricky because it is often difficult to define the behaviour in question ...

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