In other words, this theory is applicable to individual differences in behavioral characteristics but can provide little information about the average differences between groups (e.g., differences between males and females or between members of different cultures). Although the focus of research in this area is often on genetic influences on health and behavior, the theory is also useful for describing environmental sources of variance that contribute to individual differences. Thus, the label of behavioral genetics is misleading, because the theory and methods are as informative about environmental influences on characteristics as they are about genetic factors.
In this vein this paper discusses the contribution of behavioral genetic research to the understanding of individual differences in health from infancy to old age in order to better understand the relationship between our diets, cultures and life spans. The paper begins with an overview of the behavioral genetic perspective followed by a brief summary of the designs and statistical analyses that are used to assess the etiology of genetic and environmental influences. ...Show more