- Hardcover: 560 pages
- Publisher: Worth Publishers; 6 edition (September 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1429242159
- ISBN-13: 978-1429242158
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Behavioral Genetics 6th Edition
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About the Author
ROBERT PLOMIN from the Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK. JOHN C DeFRIES works at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. VALERIE S KNOPIK is Director of the Division of Behavioral Genetics at Rhode Island Hospital, and Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry & Human Behavior and Behavioral & Social Sciences at Brown University, USA. JENAE M. NEIDERHISER is Liberal Arts Research Professor of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, USA.
Top customer reviews
I think that the book did a very good job of preparing me for lectures. I felt ahead of the game when I would read the next chapter before lecture. Another strength of this book in my opinion is that they did a very good job of laying the groundwork for discussing the findings in specific fields of research (personality, intelligence, disorders, etc.). This was done by being very thorough in the discussion of the "research methods," twin and adoption studies, gene-environment interactions, animal models, etc. I also thought the epigenetic section and the discussion of it in the following chapters was good, which I had high expectations for. To the reader new to this field, the discussion of molecular genetics might seem unsatisfactory. However, that is due to the state of the research, and not the book. You will hear the following phrase many, many times: "multiple genes of small effect are likely implicated in behavior _____."
Here's a rundown of the topics you will encounter in this book:
2 Mendel's Laws of Heredity
3 Beyond Mendel's Laws
4 DNA: The Basis of Heredity
5 Animal Models in Behavioral Genetics
6 Nature, Nurture, and Human Behavior
7 Estimating Genetic and Environmental Influence
8 The Interplay Between Genes and Environment
9 Identifying Genes
10 Pathways Between Genes and Behavior
*As you can see, a large focus of this book goes toward explaining, in essence, how this field works. In a field with some resistance (to genetics having a large role in behavior), this is probably a good thing.
11 Cognitive Disabilities
12 General Cognitive Ability
13 Specific Cognitive Abilities
15 Other Adult Psychopathology
16 Developmental Psychopathology
17 Personality and Personality Disorders
18 Substance Use Disorders
19 Health Psychology and Aging
20 Evolution and Behavior
21 The Future of Behavioral Genetics
As a quick aside, I found most of the chapters thorough. The only exception to this was the Evolution and Behavior chapter. It was short and in my opinion, basically just a lazy chapter. There is a whole field of Evolutionary Psychology to draw information from, and we get a whole 16 pages devoted to it. This was disappointing.
Pros: 1) For the most part, each chapter is thorough 2) The book has a wide scope 3) Much of the book is fairly straightforward to comprehend
Cons: 1) Somewhat dry 2) The evolution chapter was subpar 3) The glossary/terms list could be more user-friendly
I think this textbook is solidly between a 4 and 4.5 star rating. It certainly isn't the best textbook I've ever read but it does a nice job in most of the essential areas.
Beginning with Mendel's basics, the authors go on to cover the entire BG field with enthusiasm, scientific skepticism, and an outstanding didactic that makes this ideal for both self study and course work. The chapters include: Mendel, Quantitative Genetics, DNA, Animal models, Nature - nurture - human behavior, Genetic vs. Environmental influences / interplay, Behavioral gene identification, Gene / behavior pathways, Cognitive disorders, General cognitive abilities, Specific abilities, Schizoprenia, Other pathologies, Developmental, Personality and disorders, Substance abuse, Aging, Darwin, Future topics and a Statistical/ quant appendix. The "tone" and style, like previous editions is "study after study" -- nearly every paragraph is punctuated with so many studies and reviews that the read is panoramic and breathtaking.
As you can see, both normal and path are covered extensively. Many years ago, I was astonished to read observational accounts of identical twins separated at birth, that when reunited had shocking behavioral elements like the same belt buckle, astonishingly close spousal choices, and many other behavioral traits and choices that "couldn't possibly be" of genetic origin at the time! The authors, with dry humor, weigh in on the nature/nurture issue by suggesting that growing up in the same environment might account for more differences than similarities! With twins running strongly in my family, I can see this clearly!
Because the research literature is still riddled with "less than completely reliable" meta analysis and other studies and techniques that are rarely conclusive, even though these very competent authors are indeed both researchers and hospital affiliated practitioners in this field, they put heavy doses of controversy and skepticism on each page-- giving a true scientific feel for where the research really is today.
I'd put the level all the way from advanced High School to advanced undergrad, depending on your previous courses, and other than the (as usual) exhorbitant price, would have made a fine intelligent layperson's text as well, and a refresher for practicing geneticists and psychologists. The quantitative and molecular biology aspect have some grad elements, but are generally within reach with basic calc and biochem. New decision theory and behavioral economics sections have been added, with an interesting twist that I've not seen in a lot of those literatures.
If you're on a constrained budget, you can get away with a previous edition, available on Amazon for far less now that this is out (as little as $5, or $10 Prime @ this writing), as you'll be missing updated research you can find on the new book's website to some extent, but I'd only take this step if the field is ancillary rather than primary to your needs and field. If you're taking it for a course, you won't be disappointed, and if you're teaching, our Library Picks and ClassPros databases show this as the #1 text in its field for over a decade.
The biggest downside of older editions is the style itself-- these authors give CURRENT studies one after another, and this has been greatly updated in the past 5 years. "There's a big genetic factor is bedwetting and ADHD (x%), less so anxiety (more environmental), more so in depression..." then: reference, reference, reference... and areas x, y, z are understudied, or there is only one twin study... etc. This style gives an awesome snapshot of the research landscape today, valuable even for advanced researchers, even though the style and language are very readable for any bright undergrad. I COULDN'T find "all" the studies that show what percent of lifetime joy and happiness are genetic, however... maybe the 7th?
There also is a wealth of additional web resources in this new edition -- a sign of the times. If you're using another text or just class notes, at least a previous edition of this fine work is a must have, with the above caveats. As a bonus both the 5th and 6th editions are written in a lively, readable, "non dry" style that doesn't put you to sleep as many texts this large and dense can. The technical detail also is high enough to make it a realistic reference work, and previous edition retention rates are higher than the average text we rate for libraries and professors-- meaning more students hang on to their copies than average-- unusual in today's economy!
One unusual praise for the publisher: so many today just issue new editions to rip us off with minor changes, it's pathetic-- and many teachers go along with it. This is NOT the case here, as a LOT of new studies are happening in this electric and important area of research, and the coverage of new developments is encyclopedic. You'll truly know what's got good evidence, what's uncertain, and what's BS when you're done-- the authors have a refreshing skeptical honesty about their own field. Those three valences look sadly like the normal curve in the order given, btw.
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