In most primate groups emigration of the maturing young of one or the other sex tends to serve as an incest avoidance mechanism. Among most primate species it is the males who change groups. This supports the theory that, in terms of reproductive success, males should compete for mates and females should compete for resources. In hominoids the combination of increased longevity and greater female discrimination in mate selection seems responsible for female emigration. This may relate to the high frequency of patrilocality and male control of resources among human groups.
Previous research has established conscientiousness as a predictor of longevity (H. S. Friedman et al., 1993; L. R. Martin & H. S. Friedman, 2000). To better understand this relationship, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of conscientiousness-related traits and the leading behavioral contributors to mortality in the United States (tobacco use, diet and activity patterns, excessive alcohol use, violence, risky sexual behavior, risky driving, suicide, and drug use).
An invasive population of Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) is established across several thousand square kilometers of southern Florida and appears to have caused precipitous population declines among several species of native mammals. Why has this giant snake had such great success as an invasive species when many established reptiles have failed to spread?
In mammals the neonatal period is a time of significant social interaction. This is true even in solitary species as females spend a significant amount of time nursing and caring for their offspring. In social species interactions may also include the father, older siblings and extended family members. This period is a time of significant development, including organization of the central nervous system, and therefore a time when the degree and type of social interaction influences the development and expression of social behavior in adulthood.
Early life stress (child and adolescent abuse, neglect and trauma) induces robust alterations in emotional and social functioning resulting in enhanced risk for the development of psychopathologies such as mood and aggressive disorders. Here, an overview is given on recent findings in primate and rodent models of early life stress, demonstrating that chronic deprivation of early maternal care as well as chronic deprivation of early physical interactions with peers are profound risk factors for the development of inappropriate aggressive behaviors.
Epigenetic mechanisms may moderate genetic and environmental risk (GxE) for mood disorders. We used an experimental rhesus macaque model of early life stress to test whether epigenetic regulation of serotonin transporter (5-HTT) may contribute to GxE interactions that influence behavior and emotion.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
OBJECTIVE: Child and adolescent psychiatry is rife with examples of the sustained effects of early experience on brain function. The study of behavioral genetics provides evidence for a relation between genomic variation and personality and with the risk for psychopathology. A pressing challenge is that of conceptually integrating findings from genetics into the study of personality without regressing to arguments concerning the relative importance of genomic variation versus nongenomic or environmental influences.
BACKGROUND: There has been recent interest in the possibility that epigenetic mechanisms might contribute to the transgenerational transmission of stress-induced vulnerability. Here, we focused on possible paternal transmission with the social defeat stress paradigm. METHODS: Adult male mice exposed to chronic social defeat stress or control nondefeated mice were bred with normal female mice, and their offspring were assessed behaviorally for depressive- and anxiety-like measures. Plasma levels of corticosterone and vascular endothelial growth factor were also assayed.
There has been unprecedented interest in the prosocial effects of the neuropeptide oxytocin in humans over the last decade. A range of studies has demonstrated correlations between basal oxytocin levels and the strength of social and bonding behaviors both in healthy individuals and in those suffering from psychiatric disorders. Mounting evidence suggests associations between polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor gene and prosocial behaviors and there may also be important epigenetic effects.