A Conversation With Behavioral Geneticist Robert Plomin

From Edge.org:

ScreenHunter_2077 Jul. 05 20.44The field I do research in is called behavioral genetics, which means the genetics of behavior, just like medical genetics means the genetics of medicine. I'm a behavioral scientist, so that's why I study it. But it also has some interesting implications from a larger science point of view. We study things like reading disability and schizophrenia. These are among the most complex traits that can be studied, but they're also very important. You don't have to explain to someone why you're trying to understand the origins of reading disabilities or schizophrenia, any of these things we study. It's not as arcane as some fields.

People understand heredity. When we talk about heredity, we're talking about eye color, hair color, height, those differences among us that are caused by DNA differences we inherit at the moment of conception. Behavioral genetics uses genetics to understand behavior. That's different from what a biologist would do, or a geneticist.

What I'm excited about now is the impact of the DNA revolution on the behavioral sciences and on society. It's an endgame for me, in terms of forty years of my research looking at genetic influences in the behavioral sciences. It's good to look at this in the perspective of forty years, and it's personal to me because it's been my journey. It might be hard for people to believe this, but forty years ago it was dangerous to talk about genetic influence in psychology.

More here.