Beh/225 Heredity and Hormones

1 Heredity And Hormones BEH/225 2 Heredity and hormones play major roles in our behavior. In this paper I will compare and contrast the influence of heredity and hormones on human behavior. I will also include a discussion on the endocrine system, identification of hormones and the glands responsible for secreting them, and genetics, behavior genetics, and evolutionary psychology. The nervous system and the endocrine system work together in what is called a constant chemical conversation. The endocrine system helps to coordinate and integrate complex psychological reactions.

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The endocrine glands release chemical substances known as hormones, which are carried by the bloodstream throughout the body. Hormone functions are similar to neurotransmitters because they carry messages. There are two reasons why psychologists are interested in hormones. The first is because at certain stages of development in life, hormones organize the nervous system and body tissues. An example would be when a child reaches puberty and hormones cause the development of breasts in females and deeper voices in males. The second reason is because hormones activate behaviors such as aggressiveness, sexual ehavior, and the ability to concentrate. Hormones also can have a dramatic effect on moods and the ability to learn. The glands that regulate hormones are the endocrine glands and this includes the thyroid gland which produces the hormone thyroxin. Thyroxin regulates the body’s metabolism and determines how energetic, or how fat or thin a person will be. If this hormone gets out of balance, it can cause fatigue, insomnia, or the desire to sleep yet feeling constantly tired. The pineal gland secretes the hormone melatonin which helps to regulate sleep-wake 3 cycles and when disturbed can cause jet-lag.

The pancreas secretes two hormones insulin and glucagon which work against each other to help keep blood-sugar at a balanced level. If there is not enough sugar in the blood and urine, it may lead to diabetes and if there is too much sugar it may lead to hypoglycemia. The pituitary gland produces the largest number of different hormones. It is also known as the “master gland” and is responsible for contractions during childbirth, a mother’s milk production, body growth and thirst. The gonads, which is the testes in males and ovaries in females produce the hormones androgens and estrogens. These hormones ave male and female characteristics such as increased aggressiveness and nesting behaviors. There are two adrenal glands which affects how the body reacts to stress. The hormones released are epinephrine and norepinephrine. Epinephrine makes the heart beat faster, stops digestion, and sends more sugar into the bloodstream. Norepinephrine raises blood pressure and is carried through the bloodstream where it triggers the release of an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which prolongs the response to stress. Genetics, according to Morris (2005), is the study of how living things pass on traits from one generation to the next.

Genes can determine eye color, hair color, and many other physical traits. Many heredity traits are delayed until later in life such as male-pattern baldness. Behavior genetics study topics such as perception, learning and memory, personality, and psychological disorders from a genetic perspective. Their goal is to try and identify what genes contribute to such things as temperament and intelligence. Their not saying that genes directly cause behavior, 4 but that they affect the development or operation of the nervous and endocrine system, which in turn can influence the likelihood of a certain behavior under certain circumstances.

Evolutionary psychology tries to explain what behavioral traits people have in common. An example of this would be how males and females take different approaches to sexual selection, or mate choices. As we can see, heredity and hormones can influence human behaviors. Everything from aggression to our sexual behavior can be caused by hormones and heredity, and hormones affect males and females differently especially during puberty. They affect our emotions and guide our behavior. 5 References Morris, C. , Maisto, A. (2005) Psychology: An Introduction. Retrieved from https://portal. phoenix. edu/classroom/coursematerials/beh_225/20110711/

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