Genetics and Ethics

Travis DixonBiological Psychology

Make sure you have the key questions, learning targets and glossary for this topic.


Whenever you are asked to discuss ethical considerations of any study, you should first remember the APA guidelines we covered during our research work. These are ethical issues when studying humans such as: deception, informed consent, debriefing, confidentiality and right to withdraw. (For genetics studies, we will obviously ignore the animal ethical considerations).

Try to think why you think the above considerations would be important for studies that are related to these behaviours:

  • PKU and Huntingtons
  • Intelligence
  • Homosexuality
  • Schizophrenia

Hopefully the answers are obvious. Furthermore, there are specific ethical considerations related to the Minnesota Twin Study that are explained on page 55 of the blue text. It states that “there are some ethical concerns about the way he (i.e. Bouchard) reunited the twins.” We do not know what this means as it’s quite vague.

Ethical Considerations in Genetic Studies Notes

Note: genetic inheritance can also include the studies we looked at in the attraction unit, so feel free to discuss these in addition to the twin and adoption studies for their  ethical concerns.