Another Nine-Inch Nail for Behavioral Genetics!

Human Development (Impact Factor: 1.38). 01/2006; 49(6):336-342. DOI: 10.1159/000096532


About the time that I was completing my doctoral training (in 1971), reactions to Jensen's [1969] paper in the Harvard Educational Review about the heritability of intelligence were beginning to be published [e.g., Hebb, 1970; Hirsch, 1970] and were explaining to social and behavioral scientists the egregious flaws in theory and meth-od associated with behavior genetics. As a neophyte in developmental science, I na-ively believed that the matter of genetic reductionism would have been settled by this exchange, and by the classic paper of Anastasi [1958] and the earlier one by Schneirla [1956]. I was certain that no one would again take seriously the idea that genes (na-ture), split off from the environment, from the multiple levels of the context (or ecol-ogy) of human development (nurture), could provide an independent, noninteractive source of intelligence or of any other functional (or structural) feature of human de-velopment, no matter what dazzling statistical [but ill-founded; e.g., Feldman & Le-wontin, 1975; Layzer, 1974; Wahlsten, 1990] methods were used to estimate the addi-tive and isolated influence of genes on behavior. I was wrong. Across the ensuing third of a century the erroneous claims and mis-interpreted data of behavioral genetics, and of associated biologically reductionist ac-counts of human development (such as sociobiology or evolutionary psychology), have continued to 'rise from the grave' [e.g. Rushton, 2000], despite the biological, psychological and statistical scholarship that should have kept these ideas 'dead and buried' [e.g.

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    • "Such an understanding represents a major undertaking because of the inherent complexity of the systems involved (Burmeister, McInnis, & Zöllner, 2008; Richardson & Norgate, 2006; Rutter et al., 2001). Although twin studies have shown that almost all human characteristics are heritable, finding a single, or even a limited number of polymorphisms or genes that account for individual differences is usually impossible since in the determination of complex outcomes, including most diseases, multiple genes interact in complex ways (Burmeister et al., 2008; Lerner, 2006). Defining and delineating the environment in which organisms live is also a challenge. "
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    • "Such neurological arguments from which one could infer actionable Gen Y/Gen X differences are admittedly complex, yet logical. Because each generational cohort drank from the same, unique-to-it, socio-cultural font, each generation's membership may form invisible bonds from shared experiences (Lerner 2006). In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that, in its membership's collective perception, each generation actually is unique. "
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    ABSTRACT: Split conceptions of humanity reflect commitment to a part of humanity and may be instantiated by war, genocide, racism, or even ordinary love and compassion. The embeddedness of all living entities makes them open systems that are integrally fused. Thus, commitment to a part will arguably compromise the healthy functioning of the whole. This chapter begins to elucidate the dynamic developmental processes involved in commitment to the whole of humanity, as instantiated by Great Love-Compassion (GLC). A nonrecursive structural model hypothesized relationships among adaptive developmental regulations, elaborative development, and GLC. The present study aimed to validate the hypothesized relationship between elaborative development and GLC at a single time point. Quantitative data from the John Templeton Foundation (JTF)-sponsored study of "The Role of Spiritual Development in Growth of Purpose, Generosity, and Psychological Health in Adolescence" were used to assess this hypothesized link within an ethnically and religiously diverse sample of youth. Findings provided evidence of the expected covariation.
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