Project Detail
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A history of behavioral genetics  

This award will enable the PI to complete research for a book that will provide a general history of behavioral genetics focusing on the period from 1960 to 2005. The PI will focus on human studies, and will deal with classical quantitative methods as well as the molecular methods developed since the early 1990s.The history will cover conceptual and intellectual developments, as well as salient social dimensions of the discipline. It will include four topical areas of special importance in the field: IQ and mental functioning, personality and temperament genetics, psychopathology (including schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and autism), and aggression (impulse problem/criminality) studies. The major articles published in the field in this time period (1960-2005) will be re-reviewed, and intercalated with the results of archival studies and of fifty interviews with both major and minor contributors to behavioral genetics and critics of behavioral genetics. Ongoing plans are for the recordings and transcripts from the 50 interviews to be deposited at the American Philosophical Society for other scholars to access for future projects. Behavioral genetics generates both intense public interest as well as social concerns, based on earlier abuse of putative behavioral genetic traits in sterilization programs and in the Holocaust, as well as intense debates about IQ and race. In spite of major scientific developments since the 1960s, there is no written general history. A critical and inclusive history can provide a framework for understanding the complexities of genetic, environmental, and gene-environmental interplay contributions to human traits. Materials developed have and will continue to be tested in the PI's and others' courses and articles will be submitted to widely read popular journals. The PI will continue to work closely with various organizations and professional societies to make available historical background materials for social policy utilization. The diversity of the methods employed in behavioral genetics should shed light on the ongoing debate in philosophy of science about unity and diversity of methods in science. Project Status


Funder National Science Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $66,171.33
Current Award Period 2010-2013
Project Number 958270
Principal Investigator Schaffner, Kenneth
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Causes)
Subcategory Genetic Risk Factors
Strategic Plan Objective 3O. Not specific to Question 3 objectives
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution University of Pittsburgh
State/Country Pennsylvania
Web Link 1 A history of behavioral genetics (External web link)
Web Link 2 A history of behavioral genetics (External web link)
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects A history of behavioral genetics | $19,900.00 | 2011 | 0958270
A history of behavioral genetics | $0.00 | 2012 | 811450