Compare and Contrast the Effect of Hormone and Heredity in Human Behavior

            Compare and Contrast the Effect of Hormone and Heredity in Human Behavior

            In understanding the biological foundations of psychology one should know the hereditary influences - Compare and Contrast the Effect of Hormone and Heredity in Human Behavior introduction. Atkinson, RL (1990) says that Behavior Genetics conjoins the genetics and psychology to study the inheritance of behavioral characteristics. It has been said that the physical attributes are inherited but the behavior geneticists wanted to know the extent to which psychological characteristics are as well transmitted from parents to offspring.

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            Behavior is an action or reaction to a particular stimulus. It is controlled by the endocrine system and the nervous system. It is a way of behaving.

            Heredity (ARL, 1990) is the transmission of genetic material that determines physical and mental characteristics from one generation to another. Some scientists believed that some certain behaviors are determined mainly by genetic inheritance from parents but according to behavior geneticist have shown that no behavior is purely genetically determined but rather it comprises both the genetic and environmental factors.

            All behavioral abilities depend on underlying genetic mechanisms. Animal behavior is the product of nerve cells and muscles. The development of these tissues is dependent on the genetic information in the cells of the developing animal.

            Hormones as defined in the Grolier Family Encyclopedia (1998) are the chemical messengers released in minute amounts by the ductless glands of the human and animal endocrine system. They regulate homeostasis and the body’s response to its environment and also control tissue development, morphogenesis, and reproduction.

            Individual hormones have different range of activities. They act as maintenance factors preserving the structural and functional integrity of different organs. These hormones action varies widely, there could be stimulation or inhibition of growth, it affects moods and mind, induction or suppression on the death of the cells, regulating metabolism, inhibition or activation of the immune system and a lot more it could as well stimulate the reproduction and release of other hormones.

            Endocrine glands (ARL, 1990) secrete hormones into the bloodstream that are important for emotional and motivational behavior. They complement the nervous system in integrating behavior, and their action is closely tied to the activity of the hypothalamus and the autonomic nervous system.

            An individual hereditary potential as transmitted by the chromosomes and genes influences psychological and physical characteristics. Genes are segments of DNA molecules which stores genetic information. Some genes are dominant, some recessive and some sex – linked. Most human characteristics are polygenic – that is, it is determined by many genes acting together rather than a single gene pair.

            Genes that are transmitted contain information that is used to make key protein molecules or what we usually call as enzymes that regulates the biochemical reactions within the cells and thereby controls their developmental destiny.

            Behavioral geneticist demonstrated that a manipulation of genetic factors influences the development of the specific behavioral abilities like genes, hormones are as well present in our body, it is released for a specific action, and it carries an electrical and chemical signal that integrates the body as a whole.

            Nerves excite glands and these glands releases hormones and these hormones affects the brain cells and thus excretes hormones that affect the human behavior. Specificity of hormone action results from the fact that each hormone fits only a specific set of receptors.

            In contrast, the heredity of the person serves as the endowment of an institution while the hormones make the actualization. Hormones that are secreted by the glands are as essential as the nervous system to the integration of the organism’s activity. A hereditary trait which is determined by many genes shows continuous variation. An intellectual potential is determined by a large number of genes that influence the factors underlying different abilities, this genetic potential depends on the environmental conditions.

            Heredity and hormones (ARL, 1990) have distinct effects in human beings. They play a very important role in the evolution. The continuation of the existence of the species lies on reproduction. This biological urge is a drive and this drive is being determined by psychological and cultural factors. This involves the hormones and sense organs in the manifestation of this biological urge among human beings.

            In the end, this heredity and hormones are key players; they work hand in hand, as heredity complements with the activities of the hormones. Heredity is already set and it is the hormones that make the realization and that are how these hormones and heredity affects the behavior of the human being.


Rita L. Atkinson:  (1990)

Biological Basis of Psychology. Introduction to Psychology: Eleventh Edition

Grolier Incorporated. (1998)

 Family Encyclopedia Volumes 9 and 18

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1990)

Chapter 6 The human organism; Science for All Americans

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