Talk:Behavioral epigenetics

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New psychology Wiki article[edit]

As noted above, I started this article for a class assignment in a psychology graduate course. I plan to complete my contribution in early April.Owleye769 (talk) 03:52, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

For a great review article: Psychology and Epigenetics by Frank Masterpasqua in the Review of General Psychology journal. Vol 13; No 5; pp. 194-201. This journal is published by the American Pschological Association (APA).Owleye769 (talk) 03:56, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Edits to this page. Re: Restoration of deleted text[edit]

I noticed that very recently a lot of well-referenced information had been deleted from this article's page. I am wondering what readers might think about restoring some of those deletions - as they provide "everyday" contexts, analogies, narratives, semantics, examples, etc. that help to better explain the content of the article to a general readership? To this end, the deletions that were made might restrict the use of the article to experts in the field. I am afraid that the recent deletions turn this article into a more of a technical article - which does not necessarily meet the needs of a broad Wikipedia audience. Owleye769 (talk) 20:23, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Providing information to a general readership is also important as many new mainstream parenting books contain sections on epigenetics - directed at new parents and expectant parents. Some of these books are: Parenting for Peace by Marcy Axness, PhD (2012); and Dr. Oz's You Having a Baby (2009). Therefore, it might be a good idea to restore previous deletions that provide "everyday" language, analogies, examples from journal articles that a broad audience can relate to - which is in keeping with the spirit of Wikipedia. Also, many parents and other individuals do not necessarily have access to the deleted journal information that was presented in a way that makes sense to a general readership.Owleye769 (talk) 20:23, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Also, the deletions remove the psychology/social-science aspect of the article. Would anyone be adverse to restoring some of the deleted content - as this was the intended focus of the article? The original focus of the article was not meant to be presented from, or outweighed by a microbiology-genetics perspective - as this latter perspective has already been addressed on the "Epigenetics" main page.Owleye769 (talk) 19:19, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

The reason I deleted the text in question is that that it strayed from the main topic of the article and the article itself was becoming very unfocused. I found the following particularly inappropriate:
  • "Epigenetic mechanisms help to explain how nurture shapes nature"
  • "According to Darwin’s classic theory of evolution, several generations are required for humans to adapt via beneficial genetic mutations that promotes the survival of the species."
  • "DNA is likened to books - categorized and arranged - in a library"
We already have articles on epigenetics and behaviour. Hence it is not necessary in this article to give a lot of background information on these two topics. Wiki links to these main articles will provide the interested reader adequate background. Furthermore much of the deleted text read like an essay relying on excessive use of analogies. Wikipedia articles should simply state facts. Boghog (talk) 22:16, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Much of "psychology/social-science" content was trimmed back because it was not at all clear if the citations provided a link to epigenetics. Again, it is important to keep this article focused on how behavior is affected by epigenetics. Boghog (talk) 22:23, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
While we are at it, there are a number of incomplete citations that are included in the article, (Champagne and Mashoodh, 2012), (Bagot and Meaney), (Bakish, 213,1999) whose relevance is unclear since it is difficult to track down the original citation. I would appreciate if you would provide more complete information on these citations (e.g., book or journal name, volume and page numbers, etc.). Thanks. Boghog (talk) 23:29, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
To address one minor part of this disagreement, in my experience teaching genetics and epigenetic to upper level psychology undergraduates, I find the library analogy very useful. When my students read about this (in Champagne & Mashoodh's review article), they are suddenly able to have intelligent conversations about epigenetics, heritability, gene expression, development, etc. Thus, I give a strong vote in favour of including this. I'm not sure why Boghog does not like this, but based on experience, I find it very useful. (It also comes from a highly respected journal that provides summaries of current research, CDPS, and is thus appropriately sourced.) --Jayzzee (talk) 14:24, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I am not opposed to including a limited number of analogies. However one of the potential drawbacks of analogies is that they are often cultural specific. When writing for a multicultural audience, one some times ends up having to explain the analogy which of course completely defeats the purpose of using the analogy in the first place. Boghog (talk) 21:15, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation Boghog. That makes some sense, and has some useful implications, e.g., for choosing analogies likely to have broad relevance. --Jayzzee (talk) 21:59, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Dear Boghog:[edit]

I have noted your comments. However, I do have a few questions and comments for you:

As part of my response, you might want to view the "Epigenetics Landscapes" youtube video narrated by a University of Calgary scientist. The video explores the stark behavioural and personality differences in a set of identical twins. In childhood, one twin was outgoing, confident. - but has been battling alcohol addiction for 15 years. The other twin was shy and became a scientist. The narrator (also the video's subject) posits that epigenetic differentiation may account for how these behavioural traits and personality differences became more pronounced over time.

Specifically, regarding your deletions: You deleted sections because you found them "particularly inappropriate." In those areas, I was not presenting new information or my own views. However, the three points that you mentioned above all came from reputable, secondary sources - including review articles and undergraduate textbooks. You might not like the information presented. However, I do want to point out that if the information is citable - it can be added to Wikipedia as a source - these are Wiki guidelines. If you disagree with that information, you may alway present your own well-refenced, well-cited information to offer a counter-balance. I think that this would be a much more constructive approach - in keeping with the on-line encyclopedic community, that uses and contributes to Wikipedia.

Regarding your comment that "it is not necessary in this article to give a lot of background information on these two topics - i.e., epigenetics and behaviour - I think, again that this is might be your own personal opinion. However, epigentics (i.e., mechanisms) is one topic. Behaviour is another. Wiki does have articles on those subjects - even though the behaviour article is only a stub. However, the article that I posted presents information on a seperate concept that is becoming more established in the literature - literally every week. The text in the original article that I posted is based on an exciting, new research field. According to the tenets of Wikipedia guidelines, any field of study is deserving of Wikipediaarticle status. If you are interested, you may listen to the following media interview/podcast that explains the context of the original article that I posted. The podcast is called the "fingerprints of poverty" and can be found at:

Also, I provided analogies and narratives from secondary sources and from epigenetic researchers's articles to help facilitate the general reader in understanding the topic. I cannot find anything in Wiki guidelines that suggests a restrictive usage these types of examples. I do not think that this counters the "facts" - as these examples came from research studies and reviews to help explain their concepts to readers or provide additional unformation to the reader - in terms of behaviour, personality traits, etc. Also, regarding your comments on the "facts," you tended to delete all references to psychology and behaviour, and environmental influences because you found this to have "strayed from the main topic of the article." However, this is the main topic of the article. This topic has also filtered down into the mainstream media as I noted in my earlier comment. Again, I will refer you to the above podcast link to find out more on this exciting topic - as it nicely sums up much of the literature by providing the "link" between epigenetics and the social sciences. As such, the article is not about "epigenetic mechanims" or "behaviour," unto themselves - as you have mentioned in your two links above. And, regarding the "facts" and primary sources - it is my understanding that Wikipedia does allow for journal articles. In the case of the journal articles I cited, they have a common concept which I previously articulated.

You also mentioned that you deleted "much of 'psychology/social-science' because it was not at all clear if there were links to epigenetics" in those articles. I would highly encourage you to read a few of those articles as they do provide links, in terms of persistant behaviours, personality traits/sub-traits, etc.

Also, you mentioned that we already have an article on "epigenetics." I would ask you to look at the sources for that article as that article is full of primary sources, in terms of original journal articles. I am wondering if you find that acceptable, too - as I noticed that you did not delete the information in that article related to primary journal articles.

To sum, based on your above response - I will review your edits and likely reverse many of them as those passages of text are well referenced and are very much in line with the current overarching concept of influences on and the epigenetics. Regarding the latter, I have not never found one journal article that provides any scientific evidence to suggest that the environment does not affect genetic expression via epigenetics, or that epigenetic mechanisms do not affect various aspects of individual development. If you can find any sources that suggest that the environment does not affect epigenetics and that epigenetics does not influnence behaviour, you may alway provide information from those studies into the main body of this Wiki article. I would appreciate seeing those articles.

Maybe in the future, if you have questions or concerns about something in this article, maybe you could post some dialogue on the article's talk page to see what other Wiki readers think. Or conversely, maybe you could add some additional information from another reputable source that provides alternative findings. This might be preferable to deleting new information as soon as it is posted - just because you disagree with it - or find it "particularly inappropriate." This latter might be construed as "while some editors may dislike certain kinds of information, that alone isn't enough by itself for something to be deleted" - as can be seen in the "I don't like it" section of the linked Wikipedia article on editorial policy. Owleye769 (talk) 01:12, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

P.S. Also, maybe some of your deletions were made based on the assumption that genetics and epigenetics, the genome and epigenome are exactly the same thing - but they are not the same. User:Owleye769|Owleye769]] (talk) 01:12, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

The main reason I did not directly respond to your post is that it was way too long. The more words you use to make an argument, the weaker that argument becomes. If the argument becomes too long, it will loose all effectiveness since no one will read it. In any case, I will take a stab at responding to your comments:
  • The trouble I have with "Epigenetics Landscapes" is that provides no direct evidence that behavior differences between these two twins is a result of epigenetic differences. It could very well be that the differences are due to epigenetics, but where is the proof? Also while this video may be award winning, who is this University of Calgary scientist? All we know that his first name is Conrad. Did Conrad provide all the technical material that was included in this video? While he appears quite knowledgable, what are his technical qualifications? Is he a graduate student or professor? (OK, I now see that he is apparently a graduate student) Has he published research articles on behavioral epigenetics? At a minimum, it would be nice to know his last name so we can check out his qualifications. Without more documentation, the reliability of this source is questionable.
  • The reason that I found certain passages "particularly inappropriate" was not that I thought they were original research, or that they were not supported by reliable sources, or that I did "not like the information presented", rather I thought these passages were somewhat off topic causing the article to become unfocused.
  • The scope of this article is "epigenetics and behaviour". Furthermore this article does not exist in isolation, there are related articles on epigenetics and behaviour and one should rely on those article for background information. The related articles may very well be flawed but the solution is fix those articles, not to duplicate information in this article that would be more appropriate to include in the background articles.
  • "the article that I posted presents information on a seperate concept that is becoming more established in the literature" – It is obvious from the literature that this is a hot area of research hence I have no doubt whatsoever that this is an important subject.
  • My reservation to the use of analogies is that they are often unnecessary. If something can be explained in a straight forward way without the use of an analogy, that is certainly preferred since it is simpler. What I meant by "simply state facts", is that "facts should be simply stated". I didn't mean to imply that analogies can "counter facts", although a poorly written analogy could definitely introduce more confusion than clarity and thereby obscure the facts.
  • Concerning my edits, I was being WP:BOLD to highlight problem areas that I saw in article that would lead to improvements through the WP:CYCLE process. Posting "walls of words" stifles discussion. Furthermore in talk page discussions, it is important to focus on the edits, not the editors.
  • "maybe some of your deletions were made based on the assumption that genetics and epigenetics, the genome and epigenome are exactly the same thing" – I am well aware of the differences between genetics (a consequence of DNA sequence) and epigenetics (accessibility of DNA). Boghog (talk) 16:44, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Commentary about "original research" and "synthesis of ideas"[edit]

This article cites many journal articles consisting of new findings (primary sources). The article also cites review articles and textbooks (both of which are secondary sources). Journal articles are considered to be within the spirit of Wikipedia guidelines. Also, as all information is referenced, readers may verify that no new synthesis of information or original research is actually being presented. To this end, the article's concepts and ideas are consistent with the literature - in terms of the environment affecting gene expression, which in turn may affect behaviour. The review articles (i.e., secondary sources that contain no new research findings), cited, also support this latter concept. In addition, the argument can be made that this article's concepts and ideas are not new or original as they have already entered into the main stream media, television and publishing. For example, talk show host "Dr. Oz" addresses the notion that the environment can affect gene expression, via epigenetics, which might in turn might affect intelligence, a child's expectations, disease, and many aspects of child development in 13 pages of his advice book to new parents entitled: You Having a Baby (2009).Owleye769 (talk) 19:56, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

As I stated above, much of the problem with this article is that it was becoming unfocused and it wasn't clear if many of the cited sources supported the central concept of this article, namely how epigenetics can affect behaviour. Furthermore, according to WP:RS, Wikipedia articles should be based primarily on secondary sources. One should avoid the use of primary sources, particularly if the subject has been covered in a secondary source. This is particularly important in the clinical setting since primary clinical studies frequently contradict each other and it is better if the results of these studies are compared and contrasted and put into a wider context in a review article. Boghog (talk) 22:38, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Dear Boghog:[edit]

Please see my response to your comments - in the above section.Owleye769 (talk) 01:15, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Also, I have quoted and pasted Wiki guidelines related to your concerns. The following information is found in the link that you provided to me above regarding secondary sources.

"Attempts to map or model scientific and scholarly communication need the concepts of primary, secondary and further "levels". One such model is the UNISIST model of information dissemination. Within such a model these concepts are defined in relation to each other, and the acceptance of this way of defining the concepts are connected to the acceptance of the model."

"The UNISIST model of information dissemination was proposed in 1971 by the United Nations.[1] UNISIST (United Nations International Scientific Information System) is a model of the social system of communication, which consists of knowledge producers, intermediaries, and users. These groups of people (or actors) are different kinds of professionals. The social system also contains institutes such as research institutes, publishers, and libraries. The actors and institutions perform information services such as writing, publishing, storing and retrieving documents and information. The actors are communicating in both formal and informal ways and they are producing different kinds of documents such as journal articles, books, book reviews, proceedings, bibliographies and catalogues, dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias and review articles." Owleye769 (talk) 01:27, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Lastly, I did not quote any clinical studies - as you mentioned above. Owleye769 (talk) 01:39, 18 March 2012 (UTC)


Please keep in mind WP:TLDR. Please also try to keep your arguments short and focused. My main objection to the text that I deleted was that much of it strayed from the main topic of this article. In addition, the tone in which it was written was un-encyclopedic, focusing too much on individuals and missing the big picture. Finally there is an over reliance on primary sources. Per WP:MEDRS more high quality secondary sources are needed. A quick search in PubMed provided the following list of relevant recent review articles on the subject:

Further reading

Boghog (talk) 10:52, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Repeating the question I asked above but received no answer:
While we are at it, there are a number of incomplete citations that are included in the article, (Champagne and Mashoodh, 2012), (Bagot and Meaney), (Bakish, 213,1999) whose relevance is unclear since it is difficult to track down the original citation. I would appreciate if you would provide more complete information on these citations (e.g., book or journal name, volume and page numbers, etc.). Thanks. Boghog (talk) 10:57, 18 March 2012 (UTC) After further digging, I think I have found the full citations which I have now added to the article. Boghog (talk) 11:58, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Dear Boghog:

Thank you for your perspective; I have noted your comments. I was actually hoping to have received some clarification to some of your comments. To this end, I am providing the following quote from your link that refered me to: "Please keep in mind WP:TLDR."

"A common mis-citation of this essay is to ignore the reasoned and actually quite clear arguments and requests for response presented by an unnecessarily wordy editor with a flippant "TL;DR" in an attempt to discredit and refuse to address their strongly-presented ideas and/or their criticism of one's own position. This is a four-fold fallacy: ad hominem, appeal to ridicule, thought-terminating cliché, and simple failure to actually engage in the debate because one is supposedly too pressed for time to bother, the inverted version of proof by verbosity."

Also, thanks for the list of references. I highly encourage you to incorporate the articles that you presented above to strengthen this new "epigenetics and behaviour" article.

Regarding primary versus secondary sources, I already provided evidence from Wikipedia guidelines as to why Wikipedia also allows primary articles. In addition, I had wanted to know how you think that any of these sources are not part of the consensus in the literature. In my opinion, they all are. You also deleted large quantities of text that were based on secondary sources - by simply stating that you found those passages of text to be "inappropriate". This is not considered a good argument by Wiki standards for deletion (see below as I have provided additional information on this). In addition you refered me to the "epigenetic" (mechanisms) article as providing valuable information to readers; however, that article contains many, many primary sources. I was hoping to here from you on my question on how you found that acceptable in an article that you deem worthy to be on Wikipedia. I was hoping for an explanation as I did not present individual viewpoints - I presented a consensus that exists in the literature

Regarding your comment that "My main objection to the text that I deleted was that much of it strayed from the main topic of this article." Based on this response, I am wondering what you consider to be the main focus of the article? I tried to respond to your issue by providing a podcast and youtube video that helps to clarify the focus behind this article. I do wish to reiterate that the the focus of the article was based on a consensus in the literature - including primary and secondary sources. If you were to add to the article by presenting other well-referenced perspectives, I would love to see them. Lastly, you may or may not like the focus of the article - or as you mentioned earlier - you find it "particularly inappropriate." As I noted earlier, Wikipedia advises against personal likes and dislikes as grounds for deleting content from articles. I again am providing the link to that site called Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions.

I find that your arguments for content deletion might fall into the categories in Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions. The following are directly quoted from that page:

Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions

1.) Just unencyclopedic: "Unencyclopedic" is an empty argument. It means "not worthy of being included in an encyclopedia", which is synonymous with "should not be included" or "I want it deleted". So when you use it as a justification for deleting something, it's a circular argument: "Delete, because it should be deleted". This is just repeating yourself. What we want to know are your reasons why the article shouldn't be included in Wikipedia. Simply answer the question, What guidelines does it violate, and how?

2.) Just does not belong: Such arguments are purely personal point-of-view. They make no use of policies, guidelines, or even any logic. The message behind any of these is that "I don't like it, therefore it should not be included."

On Wikipedia, inclusion is determined by a series of policies and guidelines set by consensus, not people saying "I think this belongs" or "I do not think this belongs." All of that is personal opinion, and saying that is the only comment any less helpful is a simple vote.

3.) Just pointing at a policy or guidelineShortcuts: While merely citing a policy or guideline may give other editors a clue as to what the reasoning is, it does not explain specifically how the policy applies to the discussion at hand. When asserting that an article should be deleted, it is important to explain why. The same is true when asserting that something does follow policy.

As noted above, deletion discussions are not "votes". They are discussions with the goal of determining consensus. Rather than merely writing "Original research", or "Does not meet Wikipedia:Verifiability", consider writing a more detailed summary, e.g. "Original research: Contains speculation not attributed to any sources" or "Does not meet Wikipedia:Verifiability – only sources cited are blogs and chat forum posts". Providing specific reasons why the subject may be original research or improperly sourced gives other editors an opportunity to supply sources that better underpin the claims made in the article.

Keep in mind that articles can often be improved, and may not need to be deleted if the specific problems can be identified and corrected (see surmountable problems, below.)

Also, while citing essays that summarize a position can be useful shorthand, citing an essay (like this one) just by one of its many shortcuts (e.g. WP:ILIKEIT or WP:IDONTLIKEIT), without further explanation, is similarly ill-advised, for the reasons explained above.

4. I don't like it. And on the converse (see I like it, directly above), while some editors may dislike certain kinds of information, that alone isn't enough by itself for something to be deleted. This may be coupled with (or replaced by) the unexplained claim that they feel that the information is "unencyclopedic" (see Just unencyclopedic, above). Such claims require an explanation of which policy the content fails and explanation of why that policy applies as the rationale for deletion. (See also Pointing at policy.) In fact, by the Law of Chance, everything will have likes and dislikes.

5. Poorly written articleShortcuts:

In the Wiki model, an article which may currently be poorly written, poorly formatted, lack sufficient sources, or not be a comprehensive overview of the subject, can be improved and rewritten to fix its current flaws. That such an article is lacking in certain areas is a relatively minor problem, and such articles can still be of benefit to Wikipedia. In other words, the remedy for such an article is cleanup, not deletion.

Lastly, I will probably reverse many of your deletions because your explanations seem to fall into the above categories provided by Wiki that advise against such rationale for deletion. Reversing such deletions is also within the spirit of Wikipedia.

6. That's only a guideline or essay:

Wikipedia is not a system of laws. Deletion processes are discussions, not votes, and we encourage people to put forward their opinions. Sometimes, they will find an existing project page which sums up their reasoning already, and rather than reinventing the wheel they will link to it (with a suitable explanation of why it applies). If someone links to an essay or guideline, they are not suggesting "WP:EXAMPLE says we should do this", but rather "I believe we should do this, WP:EXAMPLE explains the reasons why".

Essays, in general, serve to summarize a position, opinion or argument. Frequently, this is done with reference to policies and guidelines, so to glibly brand them as "only an essay" may be misleading. Some may also consider it insulting, as it essentially suggests that their opinion (as well as those of the people who originally wrote the page) is invalid when it may not be. There are many reasons why some arguments presented at deletion debates are invalid, based around the substance of the argument or the logic employed in reaching it. "The page you linked to is an essay" is not one of them.

I also want to provide the link:

Wikipedia:Avoid repeated arguments No one wins a stalemate. As stated in Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions, the AfD process is designed to solicit discussion. Arguing back and forth on positions without providing reasons for the position can become weary to all involved in the discussion. Repeating exactly the same argument over and over can become even more weary and less helpful. Owleye769 (talk) 14:17, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Many of the above WP:AADD should be avoided precisely because articles can be fixed to address these concerns. However no one including me has suggested that this article be deleted. Hence references to WP:AFD and WP:AADD are not relevant in this context. Boghog (talk) 19:58, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
In further response to the above:
  • Just to reiterate, this is not an AfD discussion. Furthermore copy and pasting long passages from Wikipedia essays into talk pages is counter productive. It overwhelms the rest of the discussion making it harder to follow. Providing a simple link would have been sufficient. I have therefore taken the liberty to collapse the copy and pasted material above.
  • Certainly a limited number of primary sources are allowed, but secondary source are preferred. Please also note that according to Secondary_source#In_science_and_medicine "A survey of previous work in the field in a primary peer-reviewed source is secondary".
  • As stated above, the "inappropriate" passages of text that I deleted were not deleted because I thought they were not supported by reliable sources but, rather these passages were somewhat off topic causing the article to become unfocused.
  • "I am wondering what you consider to be the main focus of the article?". The article title provides a precise definition of the scope of the article. The article title is "epigenetics and behaviour". Furthermore it is important to note that the title is not "epigenetics or behaviour". That is subtle but important distinction that I believe is the crux of our disagreement. This article should sharply focus on how epigenetics shapes behaviour. Furthermore is not necessary to give extensive background on the separate subjects of epigenetics and behaviour since there are articles that already cover those two topics. Boghog (talk) 20:41, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Lead section and scope of article[edit]

Per WP:LEAD, the introductory section should define the scope as well as provide a concise overview of the entire article. Furthermore, per WP:BOLDTITLE, the title of the article should be displayed in bold as early as possible in the first sentence. The scope of this article is "epigenetics and behaviour", not simply "epigenetics". Behavior is just one of many characteristics that can be affected by epigenetics. Hence to start out the article by defining epigenetics primarily as having affects on behavor (or psychology for matter) is misleading and does not adequately define the scope of this article. Hence I have restored the original lead sentence which clearly defines the scope of the article while at the same time, I have tried to incorporate the subsequent edits. I also included a short description of epigenetics and how epigenetics can affect behavior by influencing the development and function of neurons. Boghog (talk) 19:53, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Dear Boghog: This shall be my final attempt to engage with you via discussion on this talk page. I attempted to respond to your previous concerns with detailed, thorough explanations. Yet, you responded to my concerns with mainly repeat arguments and links to Wiki advice page - both of which are not considered to be good arguments for deleting vast amounts of text in an article - as you may read about in the links that you provided to this talk page. Also, above you mention your redefining of the the scope of the article via the introductory sentence or tag line. Earlier today, I was attempting to write two to three introductory sentences that captures the literature's consensus of epigenetics and behaviour - based solely on secondary sources - framed against a larger backdrop of epigenetic differentiation related to individual differences in phenotype, personality, behaviour, etc. It appeared that you were monitoring my contribution (in virtually real time), as I was making it, and literally changed and deleted my introductory sentences and references while I was crafting and saving them - in order to prevent my contribution from appearing on the article page. Unfortunately, I find this approach counter-productive and in opposition to the collaborative spirit of Wikipedia.Owleye769 (talk) 00:31, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

  • WP:AFDWP:COPYEDIT. Deleting text from an article does not fall under the category of WP:AFD but rather WP:COPYEDIT. Furthermore WP:AADD applies to WP:AFD but was never intended to apply to WP:COPYEDIT. Hence the arguments supplied above do not apply to this situation.
  • Below the "save page" button, it states "If you do not want your writing to be edited, used, and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here." See also WP:OWN.
  • The sentence "This definition of epigenetics as explaining the interactions between the environment and the genes is based on numerous secondary sources" (diff) belongs on the talk page, not in an article. Also the lead sentence "Epigenetics is the study of how the environment influences gene expression to create individual differences in behaviour, cognition personality and other individual differences" is very misleading since epigenetics affects a lot more than behavior (or psychology for that matter). The changes I made are consistent with WP:LEAD and WP:BOLDTITLE and were intended to more clearly define the scope of the article and certainly not "to prevent my contribution from appearing on the article page". Boghog (talk) 01:49, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Renaming article[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Due to the confirmed involvement of a classmate and the probable involvement of at least one and possibly two sock puppets, the result was no consensus Boghog (talk) 21:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I am thinking of renaming this article "Epigenetics in Psychology." I think that this would capture the article's content of how the environment influences epigenetics to produce individual (and often stable) differences in human behaviour, personality, cognition, mental health. Also, this renaming would be very much in line with the concepts of Champagne and Mashoodh's (2009) article about the implications of epigenetics for psychological functioning. In the current title, behaviour could refer to the behaviour of the organism, organ, cell, sub-cellular components which seems more confusing. Also, renaming the title "epigenetics and human behaviour" would not be apt, either - as many aspects of psychological functioning can not be measured by observable behaviour. This name change is also in line with Wikiguidelines WP:RM. This new title would also be more in keeping with Wikiguidelines regarding titling of articles WP:TITLE where The title serves to give an indication of what the article is about, and to distinguish it from other articles. The name change, in more correctly defining the article's content might also attract more contributions from interested users. To this end, as the field of epigenetics pertaining to psychology grows, this new title would allow for accomodation of new information to the point where the article might eventually split into separate articles dealing with just "epigenetics and personality," or "epigenetics and cognition" for example which would be in line with Wikiguidelines on splitting articles to prevent them from growing too big WP:SIZESPLIT.Owleye769 (talk) 16:46, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

As stated below, I think a much better name for this article is behavioral epigenetics. Boghog (talk) 21:11, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Support – Yes, I would be very much in favour of this name change. The current name is very confusing. ie content of article is about how ethe outside world influences the way we think and act through genes. These subjects do not go with the behaviour part of title. As an expectant father to be, I am very interested in how my parental environment affects my child and this site goes beyond info contained in parenting books and on-line. I only found this site by accident. So, name change would improve being able to find it.Infinityjoy (talk) 18:25, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
  • OpposeBehavior is defined as "actions and mannerisms made by [whole] organisms". "Organ, cell, sub-cellular components" cannot have behaviors. Hence there is nothing confusing about the current title. Furthermore there is a much closer relationship between "epigenetics and behavior" than between "epigenetics and psychology". In fact, the later is a consequence of the former. Finally a keyword search of PubMed for epigenetics and behavior yields 269 hits while epigenetics and psychology yields 80 hits which suggests there is a lot more literature on the former than the later. All things considered, the current title makes much more sense than the proposed changed. Boghog (talk) 18:39, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Boghog your wikipedia quote is MISLEADING. The "Behavior" article you list and linked actually says "Behavior or behaviour (see American and British spelling differences) refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities." That same article talks about the behavior of chemical reactions, behaviors as assigned to computers in computer science, and ecological-environmental behaviors. You just invalidated your own argument.Oxymoron000 (talk) 21:15, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Uses of term of "behavior" beyond biology in the context of this article are completely irrelevant. In the context of biology, "behavior" is restricted to whole organisms, not the components of organisms. Hence I stand by my original argument. Boghog (talk) 22:19, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - I also agree that a name change is needed for this page. In response to the opposed individual above: Psychology aims at explaining behaviour. Therefore, the rationale that the relationship between 'epigenetic and behaviour' is stronger than 'epigenetics and psychology' is unfounded. Dirkster07 (talk) 18:52, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
However you haven't explained why a name change is needed. The connection between 'epigenetic and behaviour' is stronger than 'epigenetics and psychology' since there are many aspects of psychology that would have no connection to epigenetics, especially "aspects of psychological functioning [that] can not be measured by observable behaviour". The only argument for the name change that makes sense is to expand the scope of the article to include cognition, personality, etc. Currently this article is focused on behavior. Hence one possible solution is to maintain this article with its current name and create a new article entitled "Epigenetics in psychology". Boghog (talk) 22:41, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - Boghog, you are wrong. As a political scientist, behavior refers only to the behavior of political units, not to organisms or individuals. A political unit can be a government, government department, NGO, a political party, civil rights organization, etc. Therefore, the behavior of individuals in those organizations is completely irrelevant. For example, the behavior of individuals in a political unit can change - while the behavior of the political unit remains constant. Conversely, the behaviour of the political unit might change, while the behaviour of the individuals in it remain the same. Political scientists study the behavior of political units. This title is currently misleading. I support the name change as the behavior in this article only relates to psychology. Oxymoron000 (talk) 20:58, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
"behavior refers only to the behavior of political units, not to organisms or individuals" – you just invalidated your own argument ;-) Boghog (talk) 22:19, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

You tube video[edit]

A YouTube video is not a reliable source per WP:NOYT. There is no direct evidence provided that epigenetics explain the difference in behavior between these two twins, just an implication. If you must, please move this to an external links section at the bottom of the article. It has no place in the body of this article. Boghog (talk) 07:28, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

The new link is not a YouTube video and more information about the link has been provided so it may be considered more reliable. However external links belong in the external links section, not in the body of the article. Furthermore with all the explanations that you have added, the whole section now starts to sound like an advertisement. Boghog (talk) 07:47, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Replace sidebar with navbox[edit]

One of the key features of a sidebar/WP:NAVBOX is that the navbox should contain a link back to every article that transcludes that navbox. If this back link exits, the link become a self-link when the navbox is displayed in that article and that link is displayed in bold. Even if the title of this article were changed to "epigenetics and pyschology", because this subject is relatively specialized, it would be unlikely that this article would be added as a link to the psychology sidebar. The psychology sidebar is reserved for core/high importance articles within the field of psychology (I know that many of these articles are not currently rated top or high but IMHO, the importance of these articles should be upgraded). A more appropriate navbox for this article is {{psychology}}. Therefore I have removed the sidebar from this article and replaced it with the navbox. Please note that the navbox now links back to this article. Boghog (talk) 21:26, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

In response to the edit summary of this edit which I have reverted:
  • Include sidebar as this is not an external link – no one has claimed this sidebar is an external link.
  • and is more in line with many other psyc articles. – as stated above, sidebars should only be included in articles where the article is included as a link in the template. This article is very unlikely to be included as a link in the {{Psychology sidebar}} (see this discussion). Hence it is not appropriate to include this sidebar in this article.
  • This sidebar is more user friendly to non-psychologists. – Sidebars and navboxes are intended to facilitate navigation between related articles and that navigation should be bidirectional (i.e., every article which transcludes a sidebar should also be included as a link in the sidebar). Any other use of the sidebar is a misuse of the sidebar. As stated in WP:NAV, "The goal is not to cram as many related articles as possible into one space. Ask yourself, does this help the reader in reading up on related topics? Take any two articles in the template. Would a reader really want to go from A to B?" Epigenetics and behaviour is a relatively specialized topic so the probability that someone reading one of the core psychology articles would want to link to this article is low. Boghog (talk) 05:22, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The link you provided discussion does not seem to say any of the things you claim. Also, transcludes does not say articles must be bidirectional using sidebars. discussion advises against this. see WP:OWN. Oxymoron000 (talk) 12:52, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "The link you provided discussion does not seem to say any of the things you claim." – That link was only to support my statement that "This article is very unlikely to be included as a link".
  • "Also, transcludes does not say articles must be bidirectional using sidebars." – I never claimed it did. How did you come to that conclusion?
  • "discussion advises against this." – You completely misinterpreted the discussion. The discussion only advises not to add a lot of articles to the sidebar.
  • Finally given the tone and the timing of your comments, I am becoming very suspicious that you are a WP:SOCK of Owleye769. If you are, I would strongly advise you to immediately stop since using a sock account is grounds for a permanent ban from Wikipedia. Boghog (talk) 13:07, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The purpose of a navbox is to provide cross links between all the articles contained in that navbox. In order for these cross links to be created, every article that transcludes the navbox must also be included as a link in that navbox. As stated above, this article is very unlikely to be included as a link in the {{Psychology sidebar}} whereas it is already included as a link in the {{Psychology}} template. Hence it is appropriate to transclude the later but not the former into this article. Finally there may be some confusion between the usage of sidebars (which is a type of navbox) and infoboxes. The purpose of navboxes and sidebars is to aid navigation between related articles. Related means not only in the same subject area but also in the same level of importance. {{Psychology sidebar}} is reserved for high importance psychology articles whereas the {{Psychology}} template is broader in scope and includes many medium importance articles like this one. Furthermore this navbox also contains a link to the closely related behavioural genetics article. Infoboxes on the other hand "summarize key facts in the article in which it appears". It might be appropriate to include an infobox in the top right hand side of this article, but I cannot identify any infobox that would be appropriate for this article. The closest infoboxes I could find are listed here: Category:Medicine infobox templates and Category:Biology infobox templates. Boghog (talk) 10:51, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Alternative name for article[edit]

Please note previous discussion.

In analogy to behavioural genetics, a better name for this article would be behavioural epigenetics. Please note that there is precedence for the use of this phrase in the published literature (see doi:10.1525/bio.2011.61.8.4, PMID 21615751, PMID 21419246, and PMID 20595592) Boghog (talk) 21:50, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Furthermore, there would appear to be considerably more references to support "behavioral epipgentics" than "epigenetics in psychology". The following MeSH searches of PubMed yielded the following results:

  • ("Epigenesis, Genetic"[Mesh]) AND "Behavior"[Mesh]: 754 hits
  • ("Epigenesis, Genetic"[Mesh]) AND "Psychology"[Mesh]: 7 hits Boghog (talk) 22:36, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Since no one has objected to the rename proposal after more than one month, I have gone ahead and renamed the article. Boghog (talk) 19:47, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Implications for humans[edit]

According to PMID 20595592, while the rodent data is strong, "so far there’s very little evidence in humans that epigenetics connects early life experience to behavioral or health problems later in life". Furthermore "others worry that the young but fast-growing field of behavioral epigenetics is getting ahead of itself". Many of the studies that are cited in this article use human tissues other than brain to measure epigenetic changes and then find correlations with behavior differences. The assumption is that epigenetic changes seen in peripheral tissue is also occurs in the CNS, however this many not necessarily be the case. PMID 20595592 also documents cases where investigators have looked for epigenetic explanations for certain behavior changes and have failed to find any. Therefore I think this article should be very cautious in extrapolations to humans. Epigenetics may account for many behavioral differences in humans, but one should not forget that there are other possible explanations. For example, changes in the activity of transcription factors independent of any epigenetics changes can have long lasting effects on gene transcription. Boghog (talk) 14:05, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

New name: Epigenetics in psychology[edit]

Thanks to everyone for leaving a message on the talk page. Boghog wrote a very helpful suggestion to resolve this issue by writing that "The only argument for the name change that makes sense is to expand the scope of the article to include cognition, personality, etc." What a great suggestion! This makes perfect sense as the article was added to Wikipedia as part of a University Psychology graduate-level class assignment with assistance provided by the on-line ambassador, maclean (as part of the Wiki ambassador program). As the originator, I was contemplating adding those sections, so the advice really helped to integrate the content and support a name change. This is also in perfect alignment with the initial intention of a psychology class article which is "to participate in the Association for Psychological Science’s new Wikipedia initiative with assistance from the Canada Education Program. That is, a significant portion of students’ coursework and writing assignments will involve creating and/or editing widely read Wikipedia pages to reflect the state of the art in psychological science." I will have to send a message to our on-line ambassador and let her/him know of this peaceful resolution. The name change is also in keeping with how the article has been rated as low importance for medicine and genetics, but medium importance for psychology. There seems to be consensus, here, overall.Owleye769 (talk) 01:35, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

For anyone that is interested, here is a great review on this topic, as noted above: Psychology and Epigenetics by Frank Masterpasqua in the Review of General Psychology journal. Vol 13; No 5; pp. 194-201. This journal is published by the American Pschological Association (APA).Owleye769 (talk) 03:46, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

I strongly object to this name change. As far as I am concerned, the above renaming discussion is null and void because of the possible involvement of at least one, or possibly two sock pupets. In addition, I have made a counter proposal that this article be named behavioral epigenetics which no one has commented. As discussed above, there may be other mechanisms whereby the environment can influence behavior (and psychology for matter). The current lead over states the importance of epigenetics. Boghog (talk) 05:32, 26 March 2012 (UTC)


In response to this edit which I have reverted:

  • "epig and behav is not a sub-discipline" – Behavior is a sub-discipline of pyschology hence "behavioral epipgentics" is a sub-discipline of "epigenetics in psychology"
  • "Entire paragraph is OR and synthesis" – not OR or synthesis. "Behavioral epipgentics" is a well defined field (see above). Furthermore the mechanism (environment → epigenetic changes in gene regulation → changes in neuronal structure and function → changes in behavior) is supported by the citations supplied. This section can certainly be expanded and improved, but the outline is correct. Boghog (talk) 11:29, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Finally how can "Epigenetic gene regulation involve changes other than to the sequence of DNA and include changes to histones (proteins which DNA is wrapped around) and DNA methylation.[8]" possibly be considered OR or synthesis? This is a basic definition of epigenetics. Boghog (talk) 11:55, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

and the subsequent reversion that I have reverted:

  • "no reference available to address this sub-discipline" – try the first reference that you supplied (Powledge_2011) whose title is "Behavioral epigenetics: How nurture shapes nature". Boghog (talk) 11:41, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
In fact, there would appear to be considerably more references to support "behavioral epipgentics" than "epigenetics in psychology". The following MeSH searches of PubMed yielded the following results:
  • ("Epigenesis, Genetic"[Mesh]) AND "Behavior"[Mesh]: 740 hits
  • ("Epigenesis, Genetic"[Mesh]) AND "Psychology"[Mesh]: 7 hits
Boghog (talk) 21:00, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Discovery section[edit]

Concerning this edit which I have reverted:

  • "repeat text has been subsumed in stress section"

Please note that the Weaver_2004 citation is a very special paper since it is the first documented example of behavioral epigenetics. Essentially this paper launched the entire field. Removing the text and citation from the Discovery section completely defeats the purpose of having this section.

Furthermore the discovery section should really be renamed to history since this section describes the origin of the topic of this article which is "epigenetics and behavior/psychology". The current history section only talks about epigenetics and does not even mention behavior. The current history section is very out of place in this article. Furthermore it largely duplicates the corresponding section in the epigenetics article (see Epigenetics#Etymology_and_definitions). The history section of this article should be replaced with a short simple explanation of what epigenetics is. Boghog (talk) 04:50, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Original journal articles and lay summaries[edit]

Concerning this and this edit with the following edit summaries:

  • "Reverting a second hand information citation to re-insert Globe and Mail newspaper as sole reference as the content for the reference was extracted from this newspaper article, not a journal article."
  • "No content was taken from original journal, therefore, its citation is misleading. Check international intellectual property laws!"

First of all, I would like to point out that I have made a number of other changes unrelated to the Globe and Mail newspaper that were all undone with the above edits. For the time being, have have selectively restored these other edits.

The Globe and Mail newspaper article below was used to support the assertion that epigenetics can affect mental health:

This newspaper article was in turn was based almost entirely on the following journal article:

Neither article specifically mentions mental health. Both articles state that epigenetics changes can trigger schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Since mental health implies the absence of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, both articles support the assertion. Hence it is not misleading to include a citation to the original journal article. Furthermore I have read the journal article and I can attest that the journal article does indeed support the assertion. Hence my addition of the citation to this article does not violate any "international intellectual property laws". Boghog (talk) 03:49, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Toned this down, in general[edit]

I've reviewed the Talk page above and read the article carefully. This article is definitely about health content, and so WP:MEDRS applies to the whole thing. Claims were far too strong that epigenetics has clinical relevance in psychology/psychiatry; this field is very much still an experimental, not a clinical, science. As such things needed to be reframed accordingly. I took an initial pass through and did that. Jytdog (talk) 20:26, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Next step - reducing content on epigenetics per se[edit]

This article has loooong passages replicating content in the main Epigenetics article. I shortened this, and tied it more closely to the main article, so we don't have extended overlapping content, and certainly no contradictory content. Jytdog (talk) 20:55, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

next step. paring down excessive, off-target content.[edit]

Will provide series of difs on this, but this is stuff like providing a definition of anxiety, with a reference, and definition of somatic complaints, with a reference.. this is all clutter that is not helping readers understand what we know about epigenetics and "psychology"

here is one such dif. ( will circle back and add more)Jytdog (talk) 21:30, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

DLX1, GABA and Neuropeptide Y (stress axis)[edit]

the article had a paragraph tying DLX1 to GABA and neuropeptide Y, and through them to the stress axis and risk-taking behavior. This is all speculation. a pubmed search for reviews on DLX1 yields 7 articles, none of which go there. Deleted that paragraph in this dif. Jytdog (talk) 21:34, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

section on kaminsky study[edit]

There was a very long section based on one source, the 2008 Kaminsky study. As per WP:PSTS and more importantly, WP:MEDRS, wikipedia content should be based on secondary sources, and when primary sources are used, little weight should be placed on them and content should hew very close to what the paper says. I cut this section back dramatically in this dif Jytdog (talk) 21:37, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

stress section[edit]

I worked through the Stress section now along the lines above - replacing citations of primary sources with secondary ones, reducing the level of detail in the discussion and the bits of OR/SYN that were mixed in, to bring out the high level points more clearly, so that the article is useful for the general reader. I've had enough of this for now, will come back and work more in the near future... Jytdog (talk) 22:44, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

former article, Behavioral Epigenetics[edit]

Today I discovered that a current crop of students had removed the Redirect tag from the Behavioral epigenetics article and had created a new article that completely replicated this one. I merged what I could of that content into this article, deleted the rest, and restored the redirect tag. Jytdog (talk) 01:16, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

major depressive disorder section[edit]

this section was mostly about the theoretical role of BDNF in depression which has nothing to do with epigenetics per se. no source in the first paragraph discussed epigenetic regulation of BDNF so I deleted that paragraph. worked with what was left, and made it clear that we don't know much, that we think there may be things going on related to our well known friend the glucocorticoid receptor receptor and the stress axis, and made quick mention of mouse studies showing direct epigenetic modulation of BDNF Jytdog (talk) 01:50, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

article name?[edit]

Seems like a good time to revisit the name - the change to "Epigenetics in psychology" was done without consensus, which goes against Wikipedia:Requested_moves/Closing_instructions#Determining_consensus. Also as discussed above, somebody thought "Behavioral epigenetics" was such a good nane that they recreated the article there. I would support moving this back to "Behavioral epigenetics" - especially due to the violation of policy that consensus is required to move. Thoughts?Jytdog (talk) 13:17, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Support – For the reasons previously stated above, I also support changing the name of this article back to "Behavioral epigenetics". Boghog (talk) 15:32, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Support GScholar also shows that "Behavioral epigenetics" garners a lot more hits than "Epigenetics in psychology", including some nice secondary sources like Lester, Barry M., Edward Tronick, Eric Nestler, Ted Abel, Barry Kosofsky, Christopher W. Kuzawa, Carmen J. Marsit et al. "Behavioral epigenetics." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1226, no. 1 (2011): 14-33.. But the phrase "Epigenetics in psychology" does appear occasionally and is a plausible search term, so creating a redirect page from "Epigenetics in psychology" to a "Behavioral epigenetics" page is reasonable as well. --Mark viking (talk) 21:01, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Support: Current article title reads awkwardly and does not accurately convey meaning. "Behavioral epigenetics" seems linguisticly correct. Also cite policy violation of need for reaching prior consensus as reason for support. Fylbecatulous talk 16:37, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

 Done Jytdog (talk) 17:31, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

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