Understanding the Human Mind and Behaviour Essay

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ur understanding of the human mind and behaviour requires multiple approaches and involves a variety of academic disciplines. The articles in this cover story come mainly from psychology and associated disciplines with approaches ranging from the biological and genetic to the social and cultural. Each has something to offer our understanding, and none in itself is complete. Rather, we get the best understanding of mind and behaviour by looking at different approaches together. The contents in this section give a brief glimpse of psychologically oriented studies contributing to our understanding of the human mind and behaviour. The exploration begins with the evolution of mind. Although we are often aware of how thinking and behaviour develop from childhood through adulthood and into old age, we seldom think of evolutionary forces' influence on mind and behaviour. John Elliott's article introduces us to evolutionary psychology and some insights that can be gleaned from examining how behaviour and thought have evolved with mankind. Evolutionary psychology focuses on genetic relatedness and its relationship to behaviour but generally does not examine individual genes. However, with rapid progress in the field of genetics, we are now able to examine the role of specific genes as they influence personality and psychological processes. Redford William's discussion of current work investigating gene-environment interaction provides a good background for the manner in which specific genes interact with aspects of environment to influence personality, emotion, and health risk, with a specific focus on genes involved with serotonin. Scientists know that this neurotransmitter plays an important role in mood regulation and in such psychological problems as depression. Genes do not operate in isolation, but their effects vary in different environments. One aspect of our
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