Section A – Approaches in Psychology: Q1 [4 Marks]
Genotype refers to a person’s genetic make-up. In John’s case, this is the inherited genetic material that was passed on from his parents. The genes that John carries will contain instructions for characteristics (e.g. the development of Alzheimer’s); however, the development of a characteristic (known as the phenotype) depends on an interaction between the gene and the environment. Therefore, even if John has a gene for Alzheimer’s disease he may not develop this disorder, as the development will depend on a number of other factors including their interaction with the environment.
The results of the study suggest that Alzheimer’s disease is only partly inherited and therefore the role of other environmental factors which interact with John’s genes is what might lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the results of the test are unable to reveal whether he will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and they are only able to indicate that he has a particular gene (genotype) associated with the disorder. Consequently, depending on the other environmental factors he may/may not develop this disorder.
Please Note: These answers have been produced without the knowledge of the mark scheme and merely reflect my attempt at producing a model answer on the day of the exam.
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