Nature and Nurture: The Complex Interplay of Genetic and Environmental Influences on Human Behavior and Development

By Cynthia Garcia Coll; Elaine L. Bearer et al. | Go to book overview

1
Genes and the Promotion
of Positive Human Development: Hereditarian Versus Developmental Systems Perspectives
Richard M. Lerner
Tufts University

Many experimental biologists outside of the biomedical-industrial complex are just now coming (back) to grips with the facts of epigenesis; with the profound mystery that developmental biology is, with the poverty of gene programs as an explanatory device; and with a crisis defined by the realization that an increasingly deficient theory of developmental genetics is the only theory currently available. The question remains: if biologists are starting to learn this lesson, will the psychologists be far behind?

—Richard C. Strohman (1993a, p. 101)

Genes are part of the developmental system in the same sense as other components (cell, tissue, organism), so genes must be susceptible to influence from other levels during the process of individual development.

—Gilbert Gottlieb (1992, p. 167).

Contemporary theories of human development are predicated on dynamic, relational, and systems perspectives (Lerner, 1998a, 1998b). The complexity of these theories can be daunting to scholars, both in regard to the conceptual difficulties involved in integratively understanding the multiple levels of organization fused

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