Discussion Questions

  1. Behavioral geneticists often study why behavioral concordance is not perfect and note that concordance varies between twins reared together and twins reared apart. What environmental factors may help us explain why the concordance rates in identical twins are not higher for intelligence? What factors help us understand why they are similar?

  2. In your own words, what is behavior epigenetics? How can studying behavior epigenetics help us understand the origin of behavior problems in children? How can it point to interventions?

  3. In the popular media, some have written that behavior modification is ineffective because it just teaches children to perform for rewards or that, because only ‘good kids’ get rewards, it won’t change behavior in ‘bad kids’. How would you respond to that argument? What evidence would you offer?

  4. The text introduces the concept of proximal and distal risk factors. What factors in other cultures do you think would influence children’s development? How might children in North America develop differently than in other countries? Why would you expect this? Do you think that you would see different types of disorders in other cultures? Why or why not?

  5. Pick one disorder or issue facing children (depression, anxiety, etc.). How would you examine this using the different levels of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory? For example, if you were interested in depression, what questions would you ask to understand it from the level of the microsystem? The mesosystem? How would looking at all of these levels help you to work to understand, prevent, and treat depression?