GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Julia Leesch
Tel: +49 221 47694-169

Administrative Coordination

Laura Rüwe

Introduction to behavioral genetics and twin studies for social scientists

Volker Lang, Dr. Bastian Mönkediek

Date: 04.11 - 06.11.2019 ics-file

Location: Cologne / Course language: Englisch

About the lecturer - Volker Lang

About the lecturer - Dr. Bastian Mönkediek

Course description

Genetic sensitive research and knowledge of related methods are of growing importance in many social science disciplines but are not often part of standard curricula taught in these fields. The aim of this course is to address this gap and familiarize interested social scientists with basic concepts of behavior genetics. The applied parts of the course will focus on twin studies and related quantitative methods of behavioral genetic analysis on an introductory level. To these ends, the course will mostly use statistical software known to many social scientists - Stata - and a related program package especially developed for behavioral genetic modeling - the acelong.ado ( Throughout the course examples and exercises based on data of the German twin family panel - TwinLife ( will be used. Therefore, the course also includes an introduction to the TwinLife data which are available as a scientific use file at the GESIS data archive free of charge. Participants are encouraged to obtain the TwinLife data prior to the course. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to present and discuss own research related to the topic of the course. Participants should have basic knowledge about using Stata as well as regression and/or variance analysis. Additionally, basic knowledge about multilevel and/or structural equation modeling is an advantage.


Target group

Social scientist interested in behavioural genetic research, especially in twin studies and related quantitative analytic methods.

Learning objectives

You know and understand basic concepts of behavior genetic research and pedigree studies and you know, understand and can apply basic behavioral genetic models (e.g., ACE variance decompositions). You can also integrate behavioral genetic methods into your own research (e.g., combine behavioral genetic models with standard social science methods like regression analysis).


Basic knowledge about using Stata, basic knowledge about variance and/or regression analysis; advantageous: Basic knowledge about multilevel modelling and/or structural equation modelling.
You will receive workshop PCs with the required software packages on site. To pull data onto your devices, please bring USB sticks with you. You have free WiFi access.


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