Biological Aspects of Developmental Processes



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

The course focuses on the potential biological background of emergent processes from the theoretical angle of human etology, comparative developmental psychology and behavioral genetics.

Molecular behavior genetics
The aim of the course is to familiarize PhD students with the theoretical framework and new developments of behavior genetics.

Offered themes:

  • Variability of behavior, individual and group differences. Genes and behavior
  • Concepts and principles of the quantitative genetic approach
  • Methodology of studying inheritance of animal and human behavior
  • Estimating heritability in twin and adoptive designs
  • Links between genes and environment (interaction, correlation)
  • Limitations of quantitative genetic approach
  • Molecular behavior genetics. Molecular mechanisms of inheritance. DNA, RNA, proteins
  • The Human Genome Project. The Chimpanzee Genome Project
  • Identifying gene effects: candidate genes, whole genome scanning
  • Genetic polymorphisms. Gene expression. Genomic imprinting. Epigenetic effects
  • Molecular genetics of intelligence, temperament, personality, and psychopathology: the state of the art
  • Di Lalla, L. F. (2004) Behavior Genetics Principles: Perspectives in Development, Personality, and Psychopathology, American Psychological Association.
  • Gazzaniga, M. S., Ivry, R. B., Mangun, G. R. (2008) Cognitive neuroscience, 3rd edition, W. W. Norton.
  • Rutter, M. (2006) Genes and behavior: Nature-nurture interplay explained, Blackwell.