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Behavior Genetics Association

Behavior Genetics Association
Association logo
Abbreviation BGA
Formation Template:If empty
Legal status Association
Purpose To promote the field of behavioral genetics
Region served
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Official language
Eric Turkheimer
Main organ
Executive Committee
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Formerly called
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The Behavior Genetics Association is a learned society that was established in 1970 and promotes research into the connection between heredity and behavior.


The association's goal is "to promote scientific study of the interrelationship of genetic mechanisms and behavior, both human and animal; to encourage and aid the education and training of research workers in the field of behavior genetics; and to aid in the dissemination and interpretation to the general public of knowledge concerning the interrelationship of genetics and behavior, and its implications for health and human development and education." To help attain these goals, the society organizes an annual meeting and publishes its official scientific journal entitled Behavior Genetics.[1] The first 12 annual meetings were held in different places within the United States. In 1983, the association held its first annual meeting in Europe (London) and since then meetings have been held in various states of the United States, the Netherlands, France, Australia, Spain, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Korea.[2]


The society has two classes of members: Regular Members, which are persons who teach or perform research related to behavioral genetics, and Associate Members, which are students in good standing at a recognized college or university.[3] Members receive a complimentary subscription to the society's journal as well as discounted registration rates for the association's annual meetings.[4]


The society's business are conducted by a board of directors, called the executive committee.[5] The board consists of 8 members: president, president-elect, past-president, secretary, treasurer, and three members-at-large (one representing the general membership, one representing associate members, and one representing members from outside North America).[6] Members of the executive committee serve three-year terms. To ensure continuity, one member-at-large is elected every year.[6]


Presidents serve three-year terms. Upon election, they become president-elect and they serve as chair of the program committee for that year.[6] After one year they become president and in the third year of their term they serve as past-president.[5] The association's first president was Theodosius Dobzhansky.[2] Other notable presidents include Irving I. Gottesman (1976), John C. Loehlin (1980), Steven G. Vandenberg (1984), Sandra Scarr (1985), Robert Plomin (1989), Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr. (1993), Glayde Whitney (1994), Nick Martin (1996–1997), and Dorret Boomsma (2008).[2] Whitney's presidential address at the 1995 annual meeting in Richmond, Virginia, on the possible genetic roots of the relationship between race and crime,[7] caused a controversy resulting in several resignations from the association's executive committee.[8][9][10][11][12] The association subsequently declared that "the Association has no official spokesman and that the presidential address does not represent official policy of the association".[13] In addition, it was stated that "members are not encouraged to express their personal political and moral views" in presentations given at the meeting, which should be strictly scientific.[13]


The association gives several yearly awards for accomplishments in the field of behavioral genetics. The Dobzhansky Award, named after its first president, is given for lifetime accomplishments.[2] The award committee consists of the past president and the two next most recent past presidents.[5] The Fuller & Scott Award is an early career award for accomplishments by researchers that are within seven years of receiving their terminal degree.[14] The award is named after former presidents John L. Fuller and John Paul Scott and the award committee is the same as for the Dobzhansky Award.[5] The Thompson award, named after former president W. R. Thompson (1977), is given for an outstanding presentation during the annual meeting by an associate (student) member.[14] Here, the awards committee consists of the past president together with the three members-at-large of the executive committee.[5] In addition, the society gives the yearly Fulker Award for an outstanding paper published in Behavior Genetics.[15] This award is named after former president David Fulker (1983), who also was a previous editor-in-chief of the journal. The awards committee consists of the journal's editorial advisory board.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Home". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Historical table of BGA Meetings". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Apply for membership". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Membership". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "BGA - By-Laws". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  6. ^ a b c "Executive Committee". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  7. ^ Whitney, Glayde (Summer 1995). "Ideology and censorship in behavior genetics". Mankind Quarterly 35 (4): 327–342. 
  8. ^ Loehlin, John (2009-04-01). "History of behavior genetics". In Kim, Yong-Kyu. Handbook of Behavior Genetics. Berlin: Springer. pp. 3–11. ISBN 978-0-387-76726-0. 
  9. ^ Holden, C. (1995). "Specter at the Feast". Science 269 (5220): 35. doi:10.1126/science.269.5220.35-a.  edit
  10. ^ Butler D. (November 1995). "Geneticist quits in protest at 'genes and violence' claim". Nature 378 (6554): 224. PMID 7477332. doi:10.1038/378224b0. 
  11. ^ Holden, C. (November 1995). "Behavior geneticists shun colleague". Science 270 (5239): 1125. doi:10.1126/science.270.5239.1123. 
  12. ^ Panofsky, Aaron (2014). Misbehaving Science. Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-05831-3. 
  13. ^ a b Heath, A. C. (1995). "The 25th Annual Meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association, Richmond, Virginia". Behavior Genetics 25: 589–590. doi:10.1007/BF02327582.  edit
  14. ^ a b "Current BGA Meeting". Behavior Genetics Association. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  15. ^ "Awards Presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association". Behavior Genetics 40: 825–825. 2010. doi:10.1007/s10519-010-9391-8.  edit

External links