Reiss, D. (2010). Genetic thinking in the study of social relationships: Five points of entry. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(5), 502-515.
Abstract: For nearly a generation, researchers studying human behavioral development have combined genetically informed research designs with careful measures of social relationships such as parenting, sibling relationships, peer relationships, marital processes, social class stratifications, and patterns of social engagement in the elderly. In what way have these genetically informed studies altered the construction and testing of social theories of human development? We consider five points of entry where genetic thinking is taking hold. First, genetic findings suggest an alternative scenario for explaining social data. Associations between measures of the social environment and human development may be due to genes that influence both. Second, genetic studies add to other prompts to study the early developmental origins of current social phenomena in midlife and beyond. Third, genetic analyses promise to shed light on understudied social systems, such as sibling relationships, that have an impact on human development independent of genotype. Fourth, genetic analyses anchor in neurobiology individual differences in resilience and sensitivity to both adverse and favorable social environments. Finally, genetic analyses increase the utility of laboratory simulations of human social processes and of animal models.