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Heredity, Environment, and the Question "how"?

Essay by   •  April 4, 2011  •  Article Review  •  928 Words (4 Pages)  •  3,185 Views

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In the article 'Heredity, Environment, and the Question "How"?', the author, Anne Anastasi mention that the heredity-environment problem is still alive very mush. Its viability is assured by the gradual replacement of the question "How?" in place of "Which one?" and "How much?" Hereditary influences vary along a "continuum of indirectness." The more indirect their connection with behavior, the wider will be the range of variation of possible results. One of the continuums of indirectness might be illustrated by brain damage leading to mental deficiency and the other by physical characteristics associated with social stereotypes. The environmental factors which act directly upon behavior can be ordered along a continuum of breadth or permanence of effect. Some lines of research offer promising techniques for exploring the modus operandi of hereditary and environmental factors. Remarkable among them are investigations of following: (1) hereditary conditions which underlie behavioral differences between selectively bred groups of animals'; (2) relations between physiological variables and individual differences in behavior; (3) role of prenatal physiological factors in behavior development; (4) influence of early experience upon eventual behavioral characteristics; (5) cultural differences in child-rearing practices in relation to intellectual and emotional development; (6) mechanisms of somatopsychological relationships; and (7) psychological development of twins from infancy to maturity with observations of their social environment. Those approaches which she mentions above are extremely varied with regard to subjects employed and specific experimental procedures followed. However, it is only such heterogeneity of ways where hereditary and environmental factors interact in behavior development.


Through the reading, I have learned some facts based on heredity (genes) and environmental influence. Basically, Heredity is of biological significance and hence internal. On the other hand, environment relates to external factors. However, both heredity and environment contribute to all behavior traits and that the extent of their respective contributions cannot be specified for any traits. For example, everyone is born with hereditary potential and that is then shaped and molded by our surroundings or our culture. That means both heredity and environment play a major part in the development of a person's total personality.

As the author mentions in the article, there are some variety of interaction mechanisms which includes heredity factors and environmental factors: organic and behavioral. One example of



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