Developmental Psychobiology: The Significance of Infancy

By Lewis P. Lipsitt | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Comments on "Genetic Determinants of Infant Development: An Overstated Case"

Philip R. Zelazo

Scarr-Salapatek evaluates the research on infancy to determine the degree to which infant behavioral development can be said to be canalized or genetically limited to a few possible phenotypes. She concludes that we know precious little about the causes of development and suggests that those of biological persuasion temper their strong claims about the genetic bases of development, particularly mental development. Her argument that the proponents of the genetic view have overstated their case is well taken. However, it probably applies equally to the proponents of the environmental position. The sad truth is that we know too little and are claiming too much.

The data on mental development in infants are as inconclusive as the results on IQ and social class in older children ( Allen & Pettigrew, 1973; Erlenmeyer-Kimling & Stern, 1973; Scarr-Salapatek, 1973). Moreover, not only are our models limited, as Scarr-Salapatek suggests, but we should perhaps be asking other questions. It appears that in the absence of sound empirical data there may be a tendency to resolve the uncertainty surrounding this issue by substituting our beliefs for facts. Admittedly, it is difficult to tell society, and especially those directly affected by our discoveries and pronouncements, that we must reserve judgment until the facts are in. If we are to avoid making unsubstantiated and perhaps erroneous proclamations with potentially great consequences, however, that is the responsible course to follow.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Developmental Psychobiology: The Significance of Infancy


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 152

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?