Genotype-environment correlation has a distinct influence on the psychological makeup of the individual, affecting their behavioral patterns and chosen environmental surroundings throughout the course of their life (Jaffee and Price 2008). The three types of typical interactions, passive, evocative, and active can each possess negative and positive results for correlation between genetics and environment and have shown to provide a strong influence on a child with respect to temperament, behavior, and psychiatric illness among other effects.
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Taking the passive genotype-environment correlation into consideration specifically, in which the link between the genetics a child inherits from one’s parents and the environment in which the child is raised can prove to be significantly influential on how that child develops as an individual, the correlation can prove to be genetically mediated and shift under certain familial conditions and environmental nurturing situations (Lemery-Chalfant et al. 2013). Factors such as noise levels, overall chaos in the home, quality of physical environment can all be present and account for a dramatic negative impact on the child. For example, a negative environment may be defined by a lack of structure, minimal amount of restrictions placed on keeping behavior in check, and high amounts of noise, confusion, and general disorder. In Lemery-Chalfant, et al’s study, they were able to determine that the negative genotype-environment correlation was typified by the example of infant temperament, which can elicit one or many of a number of negative responses. The caregiver may simply be tired and not prepared for the infant’s outburst or might just prove to be flat out neglectful or even abusive either physically or verbally.
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This provides a detrimental basis upon which the infant will learn to grow, thus affecting heritable traits that have already been passed down from the parent (Lemery-Chalfant et al 2013). Parental biological predispositions obviously maintain a strong dominance on the home life of the child and it would be assumed that a cycle of interaction is genetically bound to continue from parent to child from generation to generation. Though there are children who manage to develop into adults and break the negative cycles that they were exposed to at a young age, the family environment is one of the most compelling influences on the suppression or encouragement of certain hereditary contributors to temperament and behavior (Lemery-Chalfant et al 2013).
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Compare this fact along positive interactions and the result is, more often than not, increasingly beneficial and supportive of the theory behind passive genotype-environment correlation. Children in a positive environment will develop more constructively and have lesser obstacles toward living a successful and satisfying life. Their temperament is well-adjusted, behavior patterns kept in check and behaviors learned in a positive direction allow stronger and more meaningful social relationships to take place. This calls into play John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s attachment theory, which puts a sharp focus on the mother-infant bond that will lay the fundamental groundwork on which the essential building blocks of personality, coping skills, and relationship negotiation are provided to the child (Porter 2003). It is this crucial moment in the evolution of the child, the attachment on which a mother’s attunement with her child brings them into sync with one another and the lessons of social interaction are wired, that both a positive and negative interaction under the passive gene-environment correlation are fully established. This starting point is of utmost importance in deciding how the child will grow, and parents should not discount its priority for fear of putting the infant at a disadvantage in life almost immediately.