Prenatal Development

Module 2: Class Discussion – Heredity, Biopsychology, and Prenatal Development
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For this week, please discuss Heredity, Biopsychology, and Prenatal Development. What did you find most interesting about this week’s Module? Please take a look at the Learning Objectives for this week and see if you can incorporate some of these into your Class Discussion. For example, you may want to discuss the causes and characteristics of chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. Or you might want to talk about how harmful substances (teratogens) can affect the developing fetus. These are just a few ideas – you will find more possible questions and topics for discussion listed in the Learning Objectives.

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In all of your future discussions starting here with week 2, I would like you to post your own thoughts about the chapter(s) and comment on/reply to at least one other student’s discussion post. I would like to give you the opportunity to have some real discussion and interaction with your fellow students about the course material. Remember to keep your comments respectful please. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and discussion about these topics.

See below for a grading rubric for Class Discussions:

Initial Post = 3 points The original post is made before the due date and fulfills required elements = 3 points The original post is made before the due date but only partially fulfills the required elements = 2 points No post is made before the due date = 0 points
Reply = 2 points The reply is made before the due date and fulfills the required element = 2 points The reply is made before the due date but only partially fulfills the required elements = 1 point No reply is made before the due date = 0 points

Heredity and Environment (Nature vs. Nurture)

The “Nature vs. Nurture” debate is an old one in the field of Psychology. Some theorists would argue that “Nature”, meaning what we are born with, our genes, has the strongest influence on who we become. They would say that who we are is “in our blood”. On the other end of the spectrum is “Nurture”, meaning our environment, family upbringing, interactions with peers and teachers.

Most psychologists today would agree that both Nature (genetics) and Nurture (environment) influence who we are. They may disagree regarding how much of our personality is influenced by genetics, and how much comes from our environment and our interactions with other people.

Consider the example of a person who suffers from depression. Let’s say a young woman, Sara, has depression, and her mother had serious depression as well. We could say that this is due to her genetic make-up, and we would be right: depression does tend to run in families, and can have a strong biological component. Some people who struggle with depression have low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in their brains. Sara’s brain chemistry would be on the “nature” side – genes she got from her mother, a biological predisposition to depression.

On the other hand, growing up with a mother with depression, Sara may have heard her mother say things like “life is hopeless”, “why bother trying”. She may have observed her mother spending the day in bed, too depressed to get up. Since we learn from our parents and tend to imitate them, Sara may have learned some depressive behaviors and ways of thinking from her mother. This would be the “nurture” part of the equation – Sara’s upbringing and environment. For more information on Prenatal Development visit this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenatal_development

Prenatal Development

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