10 Robust Things we Know About Genes, Environments and Behaviour

The Psychological sciences (and many other disciplines as well) are suffering a so called “replication” crisis. The problem is that many reported scientific findings do not replicate when other research groups try to redo the study. For example, an attempt to test psychological studies for replication showed that out of 100 studies only 36% showed significant replication (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). We can’t trust the findings which do not replicate, because the final say on whether findings are robust depends on reproducing the previous results.

The percent of replication varies inside the psychological science, e.g. the replication for behavioural genetics is much higher than for neuroscience. In his paper, Professor Plomin presents 10 findings from behavioural genetics, which have showen consistency in replication and thus can be considered trustworthy. These findings are crucial and have a huge impact on psychological science.

By Maxim Likhanov & Robert Chapman

“I Blame the Parents”, but should we…

Approximately 20% of people in the developed world experience victimization by perpetrators of violent and nonviolent illegal behaviour each year (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002). The best well-designed and amply funded interventions reduce antisocial behaviour by only a modest rate, which indicates that there is much about antisocial behaviour we still do not understand.

This issue has been noted by Terrie E. Moffit. In her paper she focuses on antisocial behaviors, their development and cause. Traditional studies of antisocial behaviour are often only able to demonstrate correlations between factors. E.g. that antisocial behaviour correlates highly with poorer performance at school.

By Maxim Likhanov

Your genes can help predict how well you’ll do in school – here’s how we cracked it

Understanding why some children naturally excel at school while others struggle – and working out what to do about it – is a major goal in many areas of research. Previous studies have shown that genetics plays a big role in these differences but, of course, environment matters too. We know from twin studies, which compare genetic similarity between twins to estimate the effects of genetic and environmental effects, that 60% of the individual differences in educational achievement is down to genetics, and 40% is explained by the environment. However, these studies do not tell us much about individuals’ genetic risk and resilience.

By Emily Smith-Woolley

The Face of Genetics

Have you ever noticed faces in clouds, or in the knots in trees? Most people have a strong tendency to see faces even when there are none, and human faces tend to capture our attention considerably more than other visual stimuli. The fact this happens, and even the mechanisms behind it have been studied extensively; however, until recently noone has looked into the origins of why this happens? Could our genes be a driving force in our fascination with faces?

By Robert Chapman 

Save Science from Fiction

Science reporting should be about science not science fiction

As genetic science advances, the interest of media and the public increases. However, genetic science is the fastest developing and one of the most complex sciences and misrepresentations are likely to occur, especially considering the pressure created on science journalist by the current media system. In this article you will find examples of bad/harmful reporting of science and how such reporting can be minimised.

By Fatos Selita, Robert Chapman, Kaili Rimfeld, Yulia Kovas

Response to Oliver James’ Article in the Daily Mail: Bit of a Dimwit? You can’t blame your genes

DNA helixMuch like Oliver James, when I was ten every school report I received told me that I was a nice kid, just not very bright, and not really able to apply myself. A theme that followed me throughout my schooling. I now have two degrees, have just started my PhD and am a founding member of “The Accessible Genetics Consortium”. The fact is that genes are important in the development of who we are. However, what needs to be understood is that genes are…read more

By Robert Chapman