Behavior Genetics of Cognition Across the Lifespan (Advances in Behavior Genetics)

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Along with psychopathology, cognition has been one of the primary phenotypic focal points of the field of behavior genetics since its inception. Francis Galton’s 1874 examination of eminent families in Britain was among the earliest attempts to investigate whether cognitive achievements run in families. This volume presents current methodologies for understanding cognitive abilities that move beyond the outdated nature vs. nurture paradigm. Recent advances in both collection and statistical modeling of twin data, particularly longitudinal twin data, make this an especially advantageous moment to produce a work that presents a collection of the groundbreaking research on cognitive abilities across the lifespan. This volume presents an overview of the current state of quantitative and molecular genetic investigations into the many facets of cognitive performance and functioning across the lifespan.

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Behavior Genetics of Cognition across the Lifespan

Deborah Finkel and Chandra A. Reynolds, editors

Series: Advances in Behavioral Genetics

Series Editor: Yong-Kyu Kim

 One of the primary advances for the 21st century is progress beyond the need to defend the findings of behavioral genetic investigations of intelligence. With the advent of developmental behavioral genetics―and molecular genetics―researchers have taken their discoveries far beyond simple nature/nurture constructs to a finer understanding of how genes and environment intersect to affect cognitive function.

 Behavior Genetics of Cognition across the Lifespan presents the state of the field in well-documented detail as noted experts examine gene-environment interactions in cognitive function from childhood into old age. Fluidity is at the heart of this coverage: normative and non-normative brain development get equal attention, and statistical, molecular, biological, brain imaging, and neurobiological approaches contribute separately and in combination to the findings.

All major life stages are examined as periods of gene-based cognitive change, including midlife, which until recently has been considered a period for marking time until "real" age-related change occurs. And the book is written so that individual chapters can be as useful on their own as the volume is as a whole. Among the topics covered in depth:

  • Cognitive abilities in childhood and adolescence
  • Genetic and environmental influences on intellectual disabilities in childhood
  • Cognition in middle adulthood
  • Gene by environment interplay in cognitive aging
  • Dementia: genes, environments, interactions
  • Brain imaging and cognition

By synthesizing where the field is today--and identifying issues that need further attention--Behavior Genetics of Cognition across the Lifespan is a bedrock text for behavioral geneticists, cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists.

 

About the Author:

Deborah Finkel is a Professor of Psychology at Indiana University Southeast. Her research interests include applying the methods of behavioral genetics to investigations of cognitive aging and biological markers of the aging process and the methods of longitudinal analysis to twin data to investigate genetic and environmental influences on longitudinal change. She was named a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America in 2002.

Chandra A. Reynolds is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of California Riverside. Her research interests focus on the interrelationships between health and cognition across development. She directs projects that consider the etiology of cognitive change and decline, including biological and candidate gene markers and their possible interaction with social-environmental factors. Other projects include examinations of early-life influences on longitudinal change in health, well-being, and cognition as well as longevity.

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