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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: April 1, 2005
Latest Update: April 1, 2005

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Nature and Nurture

The blurb in the New York Times article said: "A nature-nurture dichotomy is dealt a pair of blows." "Oh, dear, " I thought, "here we go back to another bell curve 'I'm smarter than you are' argument." But no.

The article deals instead with two new studies on the relationship of nature to nurture. From Neurons to Neighborhoods, edited by Jack P. Shonkoff, and Deborah A. Phillips, was published by the National Academies Press, and is online free.

Neurons to Neighborhoods embraces the same focus on interdependence we encountered all semester with Gordon Fellman's shifting paradigms from adversarial to mutuality. At p. 40: "It is impossible to think of gene expression apart from the multiple environments in which it occurs. It is impossible to think of the manifestation of heriditary potential independently of the hierarchy of environments that shape its appearance. It is impossible to think of an organism that interacts with the envrionment without considering the genotypical uniqueness of that individual. It is impossible, in short, to consider nature apart from nurture." It's not nature OR nurture. It's nature AND nurture.

The second book to which the article refers is The Rising Curve, edited by Ulric Neisser, Cornell University. Published by the American Psychological Association.

We will need reference to these sources in out Moot court arguments this year. Will put up Self-Quizzes shortly. jeanne