Biological Basis of Behaviour

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Ethics book series (BRIEFSETHIC)


With the exception of the most involuntary of reflexes, my actions are the consequence of the processes going on within my brain. In this chapter, our focus switches to scientific approaches which offer insight into the underlying biology of behaviour. Findings emerging from recent developments in both genetics and neuroscience are considered. The strengths and weaknesses of a range of methodologies used for imaging the brain are reviewed, with particular attention given to the roles played by Electroencephalography, Positron Emission Tomography and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the study of operational brains. We reflect on the implications for “free will” of a series of experiments which appear to demonstrate brain activity prior to conscious awareness of decision. Validated examples of genes involved in behaviour are discussed, alongside the growing importance of an understanding of the molecular mechanism by which expression of “hard wired” genes can be moderated by environmental stimuli.


Behavioural genetics Brain imaging EEG Epigenetics fMRI G × E interactions MAOA P300 Readiness potential Serotonin 


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cell BiologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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