PSYC 3102 Behavioral Genetics

Instructor Contact:

Brooke Huibregtse, PhD


About the Course:

This course introduces the basic principles of genetics, covers how these principles can be used in the study of behavior, and evaluates the evidence for genetic and environmental influences on behavioral characteristics.

Course Prerequisites: List course prereqs here: None

Proctoring (if applicable): This course does NOT require proctored examinations.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  1. Define basic biology and introductory genetics concepts relevant to behavioral genetics and genomic technology
  2. Describe technological advances in genomic technology used in behavioral genetics
  3. Apply introductory genetic concepts to explain phenomena and inheritance patterns of specific disorders/syndromes inheritance patterns
  4. Examine patterns from twin and family studies to infer genetic and environmental influences on behavior
  5. Explain the liability threshold model and how it relates to complex phenotypes
  6. Evaluate evidence for monogenecity vs. polygenicity, gene environment correlations, and gene x environment interactions
  7. Critique media, technology, and scientific reports about genetic basis of behavior
  8. Consider ethical issues surrounding genetic testing, reproductive and advanced gene  editing technologies

Required Texts:

This course was designed to use open educational resources (OER), and other free materials. There is not a required a copyrighted textbook and all materials will be accessed through Canvas.

  • Students will read material from Medline Plus (formerly, Genetics Home Reference) a service from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). (These materials are in the public domain).
  • Students will read several chapters and excerpts from OER textbooks (CC BY-SA):
  1. Lumen Introduction to Psychology
  2. Lumen Boundless Psychology
  • Students will listen to excerpts or read the transcripts of several podcasts (under Fair Use):
  1. Radiolab (WNCY)
  2. Hidden Brain (NPR)
  3. Fresh Air (NPR)
  4. This American Life (NPR)
  5. Science VS.(Gilmet Media)
  6. Genetics Unzipped
  • Students will also read several articles from Vox (under Fair Use):
  1. IQ, explained in 9 charts
  2. How medicine might work when everyone has their genomes analyzed.
  3. How scientists are learning to predict your future with your genes

Grading (out of n points):

The course grade is calculated out of 500 points.

  • Readings & Media Assignments are worth 3 points each, score will be calculated from the top 70 submissions, or 210 total points possible
  • Discussions are worth 10 points each, score will be calculated from the top 7 submissions, or 70 total points possible
  • Practice Question Sets 1-3 are worth 20 points each, or 60 total points possible
  • Timed Question Sets 1 & 2 are worth 40 points each, or 80 total points possible
  • Timed Question Set 3 (Final) is worth 80 points total

Readings & Media Assignments 180 points (42%)

Discussions   70 points (14%)

Practice Question Sets       60 points (12%)

Timed Question Sets 160 points (32%)

500       (100%)



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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado