The nature/nurture debate in biological psychology

Topics: Genetics, Hippocampus, Nature versus nurture Pages: 3 (955 words) Published: April 2, 2014
The nature/nurture debate is a recurring aspect that has been illustrated in a series of studies that have considered how the environment and the role of genes on abnormal brain development. Researchers at John Hopkins University participated in four studies. Their conclusions led them to a greater understanding of nature and nurture and how this interaction can affect the risk of an individual developing schizophrenia. This essay intends to discuss the findings of the aforementioned research and draw on further evidence from biological psychology in relation to the nature/nurture debate.

Our genome or DNA is organized into genes, which pass on genetic information from one generation to the next, activation of a particular gene results in the synthesis of a particular functional protein. The construction of protein is crucial as it influences the effects of itself on cells and ultimately the organs to which they target (as cited in Watson, 2006). The research conducted surrounding schizophrenia, has suggested this may be influenced by an element of defects within schizophrenia-risk genes and experiences of stressful events in early brain development. These in conjunction may cause abnormalities in the developmental trajectory (as cited in The Open University 2, 2006)

The researchers on Study 1 looked at the interaction of the Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) protein, which is essential to the creation of cells in brain development, and GABA, which is a chemical essential for brain development (The OU 2, 2006). They bred ‘Knockout’ mice with a lower level of DISC1 in one type of neuron in the hippocampus region. They found that on a molecular level, the newborn ‘ knockout’ mice had neurons displaying the same characteristics such as size and shape, to those that were normal. When the GABA was altered to have an opposite effect, the neurons that were newly generated and released at a faster rate, had much longer axonal projections that took indirect...
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