GESIS Training Courses

Workshop 2 - Introduction to behavioral genetics

Felix Tropf, PhD, Robbee Wedow

Date: 09.10 - 10.10.2018 ics-file

About the lecturer - Felix Tropf, PhD

About the lecturer - Robbee Wedow

Course description

A growing number of social science data sources are providing molecular genetic data and researchers all over the world are interested in utilizing this information in order to better understand various social phenomena. In this course, we will start with a general introduction of genetics in the social sciences, beginning with the theory behind twin and family behavioral genetics models. After an introduction to R and OpenMx, we will apply these concepts by using twin and family models to estimate heritability and genetic correlation. We will then move on to investigate issues of genetic relatedness and how heritability and genetic correlation are computed using measured genetic data with the Genomic-Relatedness-Based Restricted Maximum-Likelihood (GREML) method. After an introduction to Plink software, we will use Plink to prepare genetic data and GCTA software to estimate quantitative genetic models with the GREML method. The course “Integrating Molecular Genetics into Social Science Research” will pick up where this course leaves off.
Selected participants will have the opportunity to present and discuss their own research ideas or projects in the form of a poster presentation with the lecturers and participants of the workshop in the evening of October 8, 2018. Participants interested in a poster presentation are asked to apply by submitting a short outline (about 0.5 pages) of their research idea or research project until August 20, 2018. Click here to submit your application.
Please remember to first book your workshop(s) and then apply for the poster presentation.
If you have questions regarding the workshop content or the application for the poster presentation please contact Dr. Nora Müller
For organizational questions, please send an e-mail to Loretta Langendörfer


Target group

Quantitative Social Scientists, Demographers, Social Stratification Researchers, Health and Well-Being researchers.

Learning objectives

After attending this workshop, participants should have a basic understanding of the fundamental concepts of heritability and genetic correlation and of the basic theory underlying twin and family behavioral genetics models. Participants will also have an understanding of how to use and manipulate genetic data in the Linux computing environment and in Plink, and will have been exposed to their first quantitative genetics models.


Participants need an interest and a basic understanding of quantitative social science research and basic knowledge of the software R and/or Stata.


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