Date of Award

5-18-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Julie Miwa

Abstract

Studying lynx proteins in mammalian species may lead to a greater understanding of the variable expression of anxiety and creativity in the human brain. Based on in vivo experiments on mice, a few hypotheses were generated that can be projected to humans. These hypotheses are the central theories for the Human SNP Study. The SNP study looks at the implications of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the lynx genes and their effect on fear/anxiety, learning, memory, and creativity. Regarding learning specifically, it is hypothesized that the lynx1 gene controls the critical period of plasticity. This period of plasticity is the brain’s flexibility to acquire new information and generate new connections and only lasts in adolescence. Increasing the length of synaptic plasticity can potentially lead to higher levels of creativity. Regarding fear and anxiety, it is hypothesized that decreased expression of lynx2 leads to increased behavioral expression of anxiety. To test creativity and anxiety in humans, a questionnaire containing multiple established psychological tests was given to students at Lehigh University. To measure the genomic portion of the study, their DNA was collected and analyzed. Prior to the psychological tests, a bio- demographic questionnaire (BDQ) created by a Lehigh University student specifically for the Human SNP study was issued. Then, the psychological tests administered were as follows: Creative Behavior Inquiry (CBI), Remote Associations Test (RAT), and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).Creative Behavior Inquiry (CBI) asks an individual to rate how many times they have received an achievement award in one of 90 creative categories, Remote Associations Test (RAT) presents an individual with three mutually distant associated words and then asks to find the word that relates all three cued words. State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) asks an individual to rate his/her state anxiety based on 20 questions with a numeric scale and trait anxiety based on 20 questions with a numeric scale.

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