AP Psych-Chapter 3 SMORE Assignment

Kirsten Jording and Isabelle Visocan

Adoption Studies

In the adoption process there are two groups of relatives; the adoptees and the environmental relatives. The adoptees include the biological parents and siblings by birth. The environmental relatives include those parents and siblings that have been provided through adoption. Considered "The most important puzzle in the history of psychology" by Steven Pinker, many questions are arising about the parents lives and environment effecting the kids. Studies are asking whether parents work, their eating habits, their drug/alcohol interactions, and whether education a priority at both the home and at school. Despite the difference in personalities of the adopted children vs the parents it is proven that parents do influence their non biological children's development.


You can never say what percentage of an individual's personality or intelligence is inherited. Heritability is the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. As environments become more similar, heredity as a source of differences becomes more important. Environment is every nongenetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us. Your height and weight was inherited but due to cultural influences and your environment, it's hard to tell how much is due to your habits as opposed to your genes.

Cultural Influecnes on Development

Culture is the behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group or people and transmitted from one generation to the next. Even beings simpler than us, such as Primates (chimps and monkeys), exhibit their own cultures within the systems of how they do things. For example: Grooming, courtship and use of tools. Just like chimps, our culture sets standards. We have standards for how to behave, act, etc. Cultural Norms are the rules for accepted and expected behaviors. Most of the time we hardly notice the presence of culture because we are so used to being raised that way and exposed to it. If we were exposed to a whole new way of life in another country we would see more drastic changes than we would if we swapped our beliefs and routines with our neighbors. Our adaptions to culture varies due to our different beliefs and values, such as our religion or political views. Cultures also are always changing. Cultures change due to advancements in technology, economic conditions, discoveries in science and medicine. Our cultures have changed and evolved dramatically compared to that of our ancestors. There is always the pressing question of how much individualism is left due to the pressing standards of culture. Individualism is giving priorities to one's own goals over group goals, and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than a groups identification. If you were a very independent person, refusing to have your views tainted by the opinions of others, you may survive through life without being pressured into giving up your individuality to fit in with others. We find most of this pressure received from our peers and even our elders. The people who do bend and adapt to the ways of culture for others instead of themselves, demonstrate collectivism. Collectivism is giving priorities to the goals of one's group and defining one's identity. These peoples' sense of individualism is lost into the culture they adapt to.

Peer Influences on Development

Children develop a sense of self from their perceptions of those around them. As children learn and grow they form bonds and relationships with their peers. These relationships greatly effect children's development. Even as they develop into adolescents their choices and beliefs tend to form similarly to that of their peers.

Parent Influences on Development

Adolescents tend to separate from their parents in order to form their own identities and self of being. Adolescence is the transition period from childhood to adulthood. During adolescence the influence of parents starts to diminish as the influence of peers strengthens. However, parents still influence their children greatly, even if it's through the earlier years or adolescence. Parent's children are more likely to develop addictions to alcohol or drugs if their parents are addicted. Additionally, habits and mannerisms can be mirrored/copied due to years of exposure. A child's or adolescent's relationship with their parents can affect how well they do in school, with social interactions and their sense of independence. Some parents and children have closer relationships than others. While some children may feel comfortable with sharing the details of their daily life, others may feel strongly opposed to it. A child and parent establish their own personal spaces. Your personal space is the portable buffer zone we like to maintain around our bodies. When a parent tends to invade your personal space and social life/concerns/drama without permission the more likely a parents relationship with their child will seem distant. The child will tend to retreat back and resent the parent for the suffocating manner in which they raise and interact with the child. Also, the parent-child relationship effects how the child will end up treating their own offspring.
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