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Nature—nurture views that smack of genetic determinism remain prevalent. Yet, the increasing knowledge base shows ever more clearly that environmental factors and genes form a fully interactional system at all levels. Moore's book covers the major topics of discovery and dispute, including behavior genetics and the twin studies, developmental psychobiology, and developmental systems theory.

Knowledge of this larger life-sciences context for behavior principles will become increasingly important as the full complexity of gene—environment relations is revealed. Behavior analysis both contributes to and gains from the larger battle for the recognition of how nature and nurture really work.

Moore hereafter, Moore points out in The Dependent Genecontributing to the problem are the common cultural assumptions that a genes program for many traits, with the environment in a subordinate role; and that b genetic and environmental contributions to a trait can be separated in a sort of percentage game.

The true story is more complicated, even for anatomical features and what are called genetic diseases. The crux of the matter is that genes and environment must work together to produce any aspect of any living thing.

To demonstrate this fact in its glorious complexity, Moore takes readers on a brief historical tour and then tackles heritability and the twin studies, genetics, embryology, neuroscience, gene—environment interactions large and small, developmental psychobiology, evolution, and a sampling of the implications. Those implications for behavior analysis are profound. Recognition of the full scope of environmental factors requires recognition of the full scope of the behavior principles that behavior analysts study and apply.

Behavior principles influence and are influenced by biological and evolutionary processes at all levels, from the molecular to the millennial e. The battle against simplistic genetic determinism has rallied behavior analysts since John B.

Watson, and continues to concern them deeply. This review focuses on three areas integral to the nature—nurture debate: Consider the case of the teratogen thalidomide, which frequently altered this number Prizes Gaming Machines Nature Vs Nurture Debate Download Gratis Games Age Of Empires 3 tragic period in the 20th century.

Indeed, at an elementary level, a host of the right environmental factors must be present at the right times and in the right places.

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Both genes and environmental factors are always necessarily involved. Obviously, this conclusion in no way diminishes the importance of the study of genetic contributions. Recent advances in genetics have been critical in demonstrating the often Byzantine ways in which multiple genes and multiple environmental factors interact. First, a fundamental principle was well characterized in the early history of genetics. As noted in The Dependent GeneSturtevant pointed out at the beginning of the 20th century that, although a single gene had been found to be responsible for a difference in fruit fly eye color, other factors being held as equal as possible, that gene in no sense could be taken to code for eye color.

Instead, eye color was the result of many genes and many environmental factors. Moore suggests as an analogy the necessity of wheels and a chain in order for bicycle pedals to operate for forward motion. Second, even with this important proviso, the simple single-gene single-trait systems popular in the media are rare—and more complex than they seem.

Consider the small number of genetic diseases that are classified as monogenic. In those monogenic diseases considered to be autosomal recessive i.

Phenylketonuria PKUa classic genetic disease of this type that is discussed in The Dependent Geneis characteristic in that the severity varies despite the same homozygosity—even controlling for exposure to the problematic amino acid that cannot be metabolized.

Third, in the version known as a phenocopyPKU, like other genetic diseases, can develop in the absence of the known gene form Gray, ; see R. Sometimes the problematic mechanisms are identical and sometimes they are different, but they result in either identical or nearly identical symptoms. It will not come as a surprise that the same symptoms can be associated with either or both genetic and environmental abnormalities in various combinations.

In living systems, there are multiple pathways to the same end. Finally, a single gene commonly influences many traits pleiotropy. Morange concluded, for example, that.

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There are no proteins specific to learning and memory but rather proteins that, through their function as relays or transmitters, have been harnessed by evolution in the development of cognitive processes. But these simplifications can become problematic: They get overgeneralized, and the fact that they are simplifications can be forgotten. The very process by which genes are said to code for proteins is far from simple. Cistronswhich constitute a tiny proportion of human DNA, are those portions of a chromosome that can actually code for a protein.

However, the cistrons are not simple uninterrupted sequences of the relevant nucleotides; instead, they contain exons that actually hold the sequence, intermingled with nucleotides that generally appear not to code for anything. Sometimes the exon is a small portion of the cistron. The cellular environment is critical for the selection of the proper nucleotides to read. After all, all cells that constitute an organism contain the same genome in their nuclei.

Further, the same cistron can be operated on in different ways to code for different proteins. A substantial proportion of human DNA makes use of such alternative splicing. Jablonka and Lamb noted that one gene in the chicken has been found to have different splice versions—although, as is usually the case, these are minor variations of each other. Finally, after the nucleotides are properly sequenced, the environment has long been recognized as essential for actual protein construction.

For example, a protein's shape, usually critical for its function, depends on environmental features as well as on the sequence of specified amino acids. This collection of findings means that the very definition of a gene can be less than straightforward.

Although the generic cistron usually qualifies, as Keller noted. The gene has lost a good deal of both its specificity and its agency. Which protein should a gene make, and under what circumstances?

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And how does it choose? In fact, it doesn't. Responsibility for this decision lies elsewhere, in the complex regulatory dynamics of the cell as a whole. It is from these regulatory dynamics, and not from the gene itself, that the signal or signals determining the specific pattern in which the final transcript is to be formed actually comes.

In other words, environmental factors are critical in determining what protein-coding exons get read from a cistron, when, and how often. Thus, the very concept of a gene requires the environment.

As Moore puts it. The cellular-level mechanisms involved in these operations are epigeneticmeaning that they entail nongenetic factors that are inherited themselves or that affect genetic inheritance and gene expression. For example, DNA methylation, which does not affect the genotype, reduces the likelihood of gene expression. Methylation patterns can themselves be inherited.

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If the capacity to produce proteins for a needed function is present in the genome, it can be unmasked through epigenetic means. The resuscitated gene can then be available once again for natural selection to act on.

Epigenetic mechanisms also have large effects on the DNA that helps regulate the protein-coding genes, such as the transposons so-called jumping genes that constitute a large proportion of the mammalian genome.

And, as Jablonka and Lamb noted, epigenetic changes are reversible, thus offering readier adaptability to changing conditions than changes in the genes themselves.

These epigenetic mechanisms are in turn responsive to more molar-level environmental factors. But so of course is the genome itself. Chemicals and electromagnetic emissions are among the environmental factors well known to be capable of altering DNA directly.

Environmental and behavioral factors routinely modify gene expression and activity see Gottlieb, for numerous documented ways.

Immediate early genesfor example, are activated by environmental signals. Stress is one of the factors documented to result in mutations in the DNA and some controversy exists over whether that phenomenon has been selected for or is simply a side effect. Compensations for these stress effects can Real Bones Pokie Jogos De Cozinhar 1001 by an adjustment of the expression of the same gene or in other ways e.

Again, multiple pathways Prizes Gaming Machines Nature Vs Nurture Debate toward the same end. Several types of epigenetic inheritance systems have been discovered, including RNA interference subject of a recent Nobel prizeprions, and DNA methylation and other forms of chromatin marking i. As contrasted to the genetic system, the epigenetic inheritance system transmits phenotypes, not genotypes, a feature it shares with behavioral inheritance systems see below.

These mechanisms do not act only in single-celled organisms. Pavelka and Koudelova found that Mediterranean flour moth larvae with a mutation for short antennae developed normal-length antennae as adults, if raised at a higher incubation temperature than normal during a sensitive period.

Their offspring for several generations retained this feature, despite the short-antennae genotype, and despite being raised at the normal incubation temperature, with epigenetic inheritance mechanisms considered the most likely cause. Examples in vertebrates also exist e. Inheritance is complex, and Moore's deconstruction of heritability shows how simplistic and misleading the usage of that construct has often been.

Heritability is defined as the proportion of trait variation associated with corresponding genetic variation—in a particular population under particular circumstances. What do these numbers really mean? To begin, Moore summarizes a famous illustration by Lewontin If seeds varying in genetic constitution are raised in identical environments, any differences among the plants, such as height, must be due to genetic variation.

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Yet, the differences between these two groups obviously depend on the environments. And, whatever the heritability, plants need soil, water, and sunlight to grow. Moore continues the analogy with the example of cloned seeds seeds with identical genes raised in environments that are not identical.

In this case, any height or other trait differences must be due to environmental differences, so heritability is 0. But genes are obviously necessary. For the same trait in the same species, then, heritability can vary throughout its range as a function of circumstances. Indeed, the heritability of IQ has long been known to be substantially lower in children than in adults, e.

Two examples drawn by Moore from Block bring home the point. First, the number of human fingers and toes has very low heritability. Variability in digit number is largely accounted for by accidents or disease—environmental factors, not genetic variation. As discussed previously, the teratogen thalidomide provides one example: Second, the wearing of earrings in s America had high heritability: Only females used to be likely to wear earrings then, explaining the genetic correlation.

But cultural factors were clearly as critical then as they are now for this behavior, now that its heritability must be lower.

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  1. The Tangled Tale of Genes and Environment: Moore's The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of “nature VS. Nurture”. Reviewed by Susan M Schneider and continues to concern them deeply. This review focuses on three areas integral to the nature–nurture debate: genes, heritability, and development and evolution. Go to.:
    Sharon Ruston: Responses to the Great British Bake Off and its 'female tears' show that after more than two centuries we're still finding it hard to accept Wollstonecraft's ideas about nature, nurture, and gender. NYU's Yann LeCun and Gary Marcus debated whether the future of AI learning is more about nature or nurture. Significant progress in game playing by computers came only after Ken Thompson insight that programming machines to play chess must be done in quite a different way than the way humans. Whether our personality, intelligence, and behavior are more likely to be shaped by our environment or our genetic coding is not simply an idle question for today's researchers. There are tremendous consequences to understanding the crucial role that environment and genes each play. How we raise and educate our.
  2. Nature or nurture? well, both of course but maybe the question itself is leaving out a critical component: our free will and potential to transcend, and. We are built as gene machine and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators. We, alone on earth, can rebel against.:
    the vs. Essay nurture debate nature. December 15, @ pm. the edge essay., hart doing a dissertation years of change essay essay on back to school Main kinds of essays control the pollution essay arti spiritual journey essay alison poem analysis essay fake essay writer ventolin.clubg: prizes ‎machines. ventolin.club - Buy The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of "Nature vs. Nurture" book online at best prices in India on ventolin.club Read The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of "Nature vs. A masterful guide to human development that redefines the nature versus nurture debate. A much-needed antidote to genetic determinism. A study of how the size of snakes' heads change in response to the size of their prey has cast new light on the nature versus nurture debate. An Australian and French study has showed that adaptability is a combination of genes and life experiences. Research published in the latest issue of the journal  Missing: machines.
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And he imagines doing it without having to leverage the insights of human linguists, psychologists or cognitive scientists. He acknowledged that unsupervised deep learning has a chance of success. He cited his own work and that of colleagues such as Elizabeth Spelke , a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, in showing how human children have the capacity very early on to perceive concepts such as persons, objects, sets and places.

LeCun agreed that AI needs some structure to help it comprehend the world. In his view, AI could benefit greatly from a single learning principle — or collection of such principles — that would arise with or without having built-in structure modeled on innate cognitive machinery. Common sense enables humans and animals to fill in missing information based on their knowledge of how the world works. That is why human drivers do not need to crash into a tree 50, times before they realize that is a bad idea; humans already have a sense of what might happen if they steer their car into a tree.

LeCun hopes that unsupervised learning can lead AI to eventually develop a sense of how the world works from a physics standpoint, if not some crude form of common sense. If the unsupervised learning algorithms eventually require more structure similar to cognitive representations of objects, sets, places, and so forth, Marcus could claim victory.

If unsupervised learning finds success without requiring such structure, then LeCun would have been proven correct. The point is that an environmental factor unknown at the time was confounded with genetic relatedness.

Cultural factors are often directly correlated with genetic variation, with sex and race as classic examples although such genetic differences are small, e. Skin color continues to affect the way that people are treated, for example. Heritability estimates are based in effect on the averaging of environmental factors. A factor like racism, which is known to correlate with genes, must be statistically accounted for, to the extent possible e.

Behavior analysts are in an especially good position to recognize the difficulties with this approach. Without knowledge of the actual causal relations, the effort to control for the many confounding variables statistically is limited in its effectiveness see Block, ; Moore, p.

After a period of renewed debate instigated by Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve to which Block, , was responding , a consensus that this is the case may now have been achieved by those in this field e. Other developments have converged, such as the acceptance of the well-documented steady increase in IQ in many developed nations over each succeeding decade see Moore on the Flynn effect.

The consequences of the nature—nurture misunderstandings have been and continue to be serious, though. Genetic determinism, itself problematic, has sometimes been accompanied by an implicit or explicit assumption that environmental interventions are futile or limited in effectiveness. Moore describes the effects of such views on social policies, cultural beliefs, and individual actions. And he does not shrink from the larger political implications.

He notes, for example, that genetic determinism for intelligence could be and sometimes has been taken to imply a lesser need for access by all to quality education. Given the fact that it is simply impossible to identify people who are genetically unable to benefit from access to social resources like quality education and nutrition, it seems incumbent upon democratic societies to distribute these resources equitably.

The fact that genetic information alone will never be able to specify which people would benefit most or least from access to these resources merely serves to reinforce this exigency. As noted above, heritability estimates for so-called genetic diseases must be both performed and interpreted with considerable caution.

The provenance of a disorder like autism is of great concern, and heritability estimates are usually high e. However, autism and autism spectrum disorders have apparently been increasing in incidence although some consider the increase to be illusory. Their causation is still unknown despite years of effort, but research proceeds, and a specific gene abnormality was recently suggested as a predisposing factor e.

Thus, shared genes and shared environments can still be extremely difficult or even impossible to disentangle with current techniques. And because of incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, even in the case of diseases like PKU that are associated with a single gene, sometimes only one identical twin manifests the disorder. For all these reasons, the genetic determinism sometimes drawn from the twin studies is an obvious target, and Moore's critical analysis makes enjoyable reading.

Genetic determination has been suggested for very unlikely traits indeed. The occurrence of coincidences is especially beloved by the mass media: Genes code for proteins, not first names, but confirmation bias is rampant, and dissimilarities can go unexamined. As Moore discusses, such coincidences are due mainly to growing up in the same era, and usually in the same social class and the same or similar neighborhood, as has been documented. As a result, comparable unrelated individuals can also share a surprising number of similarities.

And such environmentally influenced similarities that are not explicitly accounted for statistically can and do serve to inflate the heritability estimate. On top of this factor, the effects of similar appearance can be dismayingly large, 5 especially important for comparing fraternal and identical twins. Finally, according to Moore, about one third of identical twins but no fraternal twins share a chorion, a membrane that is part of the placenta, and hence experience more similar prenatal environments.

Some researchers have documented observable effects of this variable. Similarities across any two people, related or not, are due to genes and environment working together in their complex, interacting ways. Heritability percentages are problematic even when applied to the groups from which they are drawn. As Moore points out, it is eminently intuitive that some traits, like the shape of a nose, seem to be less influenced by environmental factors, whereas others, like hair style, seem more environmentally determined.

But the many caveats are very important. Adding yet more caveats, Moore summarizes the pioneering work of developmental psychobiologist Gilbert Gottlieb on the provenance of a species-typical behavior like imprinting, which used to be thought of in this way.

Gottlieb's research with duckling imprinting showed that nonobvious experiential factors could be critical to the development of innate behaviors such as the unlearned preference for the species-typical maternal call. In one species, ducklings had to hear their own or siblings' contact calls prenatally in order to develop the normal preference, even though these calls bore no resemblance to the maternal call.

In another species, perinatal experience hearing siblings' alarm calls was essential. Thus, the normal developmental canalization toward species-typical preference included not only genes, physiological contributors, and other expected variables, but entirely unexpected environmental factors as well.

Gottlieb discovered that, as a result, preferences for other species' calls could readily be induced by environmental manipulations Gottlieb, ; see Schneider, , for a review and commentary. A critical recognition is. The extent to which experiences influence a trait's development reflects a variety of factors …, but it does not reflect the extent to which genes control the trait's development. As Moore points out, the detection of such nonobvious contributors requires special care.

Mother rats' licking of male preweanlings has been shown to be essential for the later development of normal sexual behavior C. However, separating the pups from their mother after weaning, raising them in social isolation, and observing normal sexual behavior might be taken to suggest that the environment is unimportant, which is clearly far from the case. Many such examples of nonobvious environmental contributors are now known to exist see, e.

Experience is critical for development in myriad ways, and Moore notes research showing that corresponding brain plasticity is now known to be higher throughout the lifespan than had been thought.

The fantastic chimeras created by embryologists who combine parts of different creatures have demonstrated how the environment, not the genes, determines which cells become parts of what organs, and just how plastic that process is.

Moore, an infancy researcher himself, focuses especially on perinatal development, the source of an explosion of news over the past few decades.

One phenomenon is fetal programming, a lifelong predisposition to obesity caused by poor maternal nutrition at a particular prenatal stage. Of special interest to behavior analysts, Spear and his colleagues have shown that placental or mammary exposure to ethanol at levels far below those for fetal alcohol syndrome establishes it as a reinforcer later, and can perhaps contribute to alcoholism e.

Here again, confusion can arise over genetic and nongenetic familial inheritance patterns. Developmental work has complemented behavioral work in documenting nongenetic inheritance mechanisms in addition to the more molecular epigenetic ones discussed previously.

For example, it has long been known in humans and other mammals that acquired immunity can be transmitted nongenetically, through breast milk and the placenta. Later behavioral effects include greater aggression and the ability to hold larger territories. Such female gerbils tend in turn to have male-dominated litters, so their daughters show the same patterns, thus providing another illustration of nongenetic inheritance.

Behavioral mechanisms are involved, and the extra licking provides an excellent example. Further, as discussed previously, similar extra licking of male pups by rat mothers was demonstrated to be critical for later male sexual behavior. This behavior has been shown to be caused by testosterone or associated hormones in the male rat pups' urine, which act as a reinforcer for the mothers' licking C. Moore, , Cross-fostering studies, in which young of one genetic strain are reared by mothers of a different strain, are especially useful in studies of gene—environment inheritance relations.

Integral once again were behavioral mechanisms similar in some ways to the differential maternal handling discovered by C. Operant behavior comes even more to the forefront in the social learning that is an obvious behavioral inheritance mechanism. Berman noted likely operant involvement in the maternal parenting styles that tend to be passed down from mother to daughter for generations in rhesus monkeys see Fairbanks, , and Suomi, , for related research.

For example, access to an infant sibling is reinforcing for most females, and maternal rejections of the infant can be discriminative stimuli signaling an opportunity for access. Attention to the mother's parenting of the sibling is sometimes reinforced by access to the mother as well. Berman suggests that such stimulus control facilitates learning of a parenting style through imitation which of course involves operants; see, e.

Observational learning is also critical for the transmission of foraging techniques. An impressive variety of such behavioral inheritance mechanisms across the animal kingdom is documented in Animal Traditions: The evolutionary implications are significant.

Moore, ; Schneider, However, he emphasizes two key associated insights. First, environments are passed along rather like genes and the essential cytoplasm containing the genes:. To the extent that we cannot help but develop in environments that are similar in important ways to the environments in which our parents developed, the legacy we receive from our parents includes both our genes and aspects of our developmental environments. Evolutionarily speaking, both genes and critical features of environments are and must be reasonably stable across generations.

Second, as Moore points out, natural selection does not act directly on genes, but on phenotypes. Phenotypes are produced and modified by both genes and environments, and behavior principles have an important role. Evolution might even be considered to proceed by lasting phenotypic changes regardless of whether there is an accompanying change in the genome, a controversial proposal made by Gottlieb Moore, p.

These lines of thought are at the heart of the integrative, empirically based approach to nature—nurture relations known as developmental systems theory.

The Dependent Gene is one of the first trade books on developmental systems theory, which encompasses all the research areas bearing on nature—nurture relations. Behavior analysis is eminently consistent with this approach, one that makes the role of environmental factors like behavior principles explicit. The very title of a recent edited work in this tradition is significant: Moore's book provides an excellent introduction.

Other notable recent books that can reasonably be grouped under the developmental systems rubric include Avital and Jablonka , Blumberg , Gottlieb , Oyama , and West-Eberhard For behavior-analytic reviews, see Midgley and Morris and Schneider The Dependent Gene is well documented with ample footnotes.

Finally, in Moore's valuable evolutionary discussion of heterochrony changes in developmental timing , an update on the nature of its role in human evolution may be required e. Moore's book focuses on dangers of the concept of genetic determinism. Scientists' new power to investigate the complex causation in nature—nurture relations has benefited, of course, from the mapping of the human genome. The resulting tendency to focus on the genes does not necessarily lead to less effort to understand the environmental contributors by any means, but it can have that effect.

Eliminating the indigestible amino acid from the diet currently provides the best treatment. The particulars of each problem determine how best it can be handled, so, in the future, some problems thought of as environmentally determined may be best dealt with through gene therapies. For now, those therapies appear to remain distant possibilities. Moore also notes that, although it is inherently less likely to lead to the stuck-with-it do-nothing outcome that has sometimes resulted from genetic determinism, environmental determinism is problematic too.

After all, environmental interventions operate on organisms built in part by genes, and they continue to be affected by genes through gene products. Even features that seem largely controlled by environmental factors for almost everyone are influenced by genes, and can be very different given enough of a change in the genome. An obvious example for behavior analysts is learning, in the case of PKU or Down syndrome, with their documented genetic contributions.

But more subtle examples exist too, and behavioral interventions may sometimes fail to work because of unrecognized genetic factors see, e. Knowledge of such genetic involvement would be very helpful even without the existence of gene therapies. If they were to exist, the known presence in an individual of genetic predispositions for alcoholism or autism, for example, means that behavioral and other environmental countermeasures could be targeted at an early age.

The presence of interactions means that the predispositions might be problematic only in particular environments to begin with.

The 21st century brings a revolution in our understanding of nature—nurture relations, one that clearly goes far beyond the mapping of the human genome. As The Dependent Gene documents, genes and environmental factors interact at all levels in very complex ways.

The more dissemination of this spectrum of findings, the better for fields like behavior analysis that are focused on behavior—environment principles that do not always get the same respect as genetics. Ironically, many geneticists do recognize the important role of the environment e.

Similarly, behavior analysts have always recognized the importance of genetic involvement in the phenomena they study and now the practical implications are growing. But that fact has not always been acknowledged either: As Morris, Lazo, and Smith documented, although B. Skinner wrote amply about biological, genetic, and evolutionary involvement in behavior, he was and continues to be frequently accused of neglect. Behavior analysts can be proactive by talking knowledgeably about their science's relation to the larger life sciences—and the pivotal role of the behavior processes they study and apply.

Awareness of the nature—nurture relations described in The Dependent Gene can provide support as well as illumination. I thank Robert Lickliter, Edward K. Reese, and Ken R. Schneider for their helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript. Moore has been criticized for failing to discuss the knockout gene studies, but they can actually be taken to bolster his case. The white author of Black Like Me changed his skin color to experience life as a black man in the South, resulting in a powerful and influential work Griffin, They can be very different in appearance as well as in other characteristics; even cloned animals can look dissimilar see Moore.

The degree of environmental similarity is an obvious factor. In corroboration, Fraga et al. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Behav Anal v. Reviewed by Susan M Schneider. Copyright The Association for Behavior Analysis. Abstract Nature—nurture views that smack of genetic determinism remain prevalent. Morange concluded, for example, that There are no proteins specific to learning and memory but rather proteins that, through their function as relays or transmitters, have been harnessed by evolution in the development of cognitive processes.

Defining the Gene The very process by which genes are said to code for proteins is far from simple. Although the generic cistron usually qualifies, as Keller noted, The gene has lost a good deal of both its specificity and its agency. Genes, Epigenetics, and Epigenetic Inheritance The cellular-level mechanisms involved in these operations are epigenetic , meaning that they entail nongenetic factors that are inherited themselves or that affect genetic inheritance and gene expression.

Heritability Inheritance is complex, and Moore's deconstruction of heritability shows how simplistic and misleading the usage of that construct has often been. Understanding Heritability To begin, Moore summarizes a famous illustration by Lewontin Limitations, Confusions, and Confounding Variables This is just the beginning of the confusions concerning this correlational construct. Genetic Determinism and the Twin Studies After a period of renewed debate instigated by Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve to which Block, , was responding , a consensus that this is the case may now have been achieved by those in this field e.

Behavioral Inheritance Developmental work has complemented behavioral work in documenting nongenetic inheritance mechanisms in addition to the more molecular epigenetic ones discussed previously. First, environments are passed along rather like genes and the essential cytoplasm containing the genes: Developmental Systems Theory The Dependent Gene is one of the first trade books on developmental systems theory, which encompasses all the research areas bearing on nature—nurture relations.

Environmental Determinism Moore's book focuses on dangers of the concept of genetic determinism. Conclusion The 21st century brings a revolution in our understanding of nature—nurture relations, one that clearly goes far beyond the mapping of the human genome. Footnotes 1 Note the categorization difficulties with respect to the fuzzy set of nonmonogenic genetic diseases; note also other complications, such as the fact that the problematic allele for the monogenic disease sickle cell anemia is actually beneficial in heterozygous individuals.

References Avital E, Jablonka E. Behavioural inheritance in evolution. Cambridge University Press; Cytoplasmic inheritance of the organization of the cell cortex in Paramecium aurelia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Intergenerational transmission of maternal rejection rates among free-ranging rhesus monkeys.

How heritability misleads about race. The genesis of behavior. A genetic variant that disrupts MET transcription is associated with autism. A contemporary behavior analytic interpretation. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.

Hypertension in SHR rats: Contribution of maternal environment. American Journal of Physiology. Maternal behavior of spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto normotensive rats: Effects of reciprocal cross-fostering of litters. Behavioral and Neural Biology. M, Bone S, Galef B. Uterine positions and schedules of urination: Correlates of differential maternal anogenital stimulation. M, Karpluk P, Galef B. Hormonally mediated inheritance of acquired characteristics in Mongolian gerbils. C, Wahlsten C, Dudek B.

Genetics of mouse behavior: Interactions with laboratory environment. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Individual differences in maternal style: Causes and consequences for mothers and offspring. Advances in the Study of Behavior. Identical twins reared apart: F, Ballestar E, Paz M. Epigenetic differences arise during the lifetime of monozygotic twins.

D, Diorio J, Plotsky P. Environmental enrichment reverses the effects of maternal separation on stress reactivity. Epigenetic sources of behavioral differences in mice. Preventing mental retardation in children at risk. American Association on Mental Retardation; Prenatal roots of instinctive behavior. Normally occurring environmental and behavioral influences on gene activity: From central dogma to probabilistic epigenesis.

Selfish genes or developmental systems? Historical, philosophical and political perspectives: Festschrift for Richard Lewontin. Hart B, Risley T. Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Intelligence and class structure in American life. Genetics and social class. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Epigenetic inheritance and evolution. Oxford University Press; Jablonka E, Lamb M.

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Watson, and continues to concern them deeply. This review focuses on three areas integral to the nature—nurture debate: Consider the case of the teratogen thalidomide, which frequently altered this number during a tragic period in the 20th century.

Indeed, at an elementary level, a host of the right environmental factors must be present at the right times and in the right places. Both genes and environmental factors are always necessarily involved. Obviously, this conclusion in no way diminishes the importance of the study of genetic contributions. Recent advances in genetics have been critical in demonstrating the often Byzantine ways in which multiple genes and multiple environmental factors interact. First, a fundamental principle was well characterized in the early history of genetics.

As noted in The Dependent Gene , Sturtevant pointed out at the beginning of the 20th century that, although a single gene had been found to be responsible for a difference in fruit fly eye color, other factors being held as equal as possible, that gene in no sense could be taken to code for eye color. Instead, eye color was the result of many genes and many environmental factors. Moore suggests as an analogy the necessity of wheels and a chain in order for bicycle pedals to operate for forward motion.

Second, even with this important proviso, the simple single-gene single-trait systems popular in the media are rare—and more complex than they seem. Consider the small number of genetic diseases that are classified as monogenic. In those monogenic diseases considered to be autosomal recessive i. Phenylketonuria PKU , a classic genetic disease of this type that is discussed in The Dependent Gene , is characteristic in that the severity varies despite the same homozygosity—even controlling for exposure to the problematic amino acid that cannot be metabolized.

Third, in the version known as a phenocopy , PKU, like other genetic diseases, can develop in the absence of the known gene form Gray, ; see R.

Sometimes the problematic mechanisms are identical and sometimes they are different, but they result in either identical or nearly identical symptoms. It will not come as a surprise that the same symptoms can be associated with either or both genetic and environmental abnormalities in various combinations.

In living systems, there are multiple pathways to the same end. Finally, a single gene commonly influences many traits pleiotropy.

Morange concluded, for example, that. There are no proteins specific to learning and memory but rather proteins that, through their function as relays or transmitters, have been harnessed by evolution in the development of cognitive processes. But these simplifications can become problematic: They get overgeneralized, and the fact that they are simplifications can be forgotten. The very process by which genes are said to code for proteins is far from simple. Cistrons , which constitute a tiny proportion of human DNA, are those portions of a chromosome that can actually code for a protein.

However, the cistrons are not simple uninterrupted sequences of the relevant nucleotides; instead, they contain exons that actually hold the sequence, intermingled with nucleotides that generally appear not to code for anything. Sometimes the exon is a small portion of the cistron. The cellular environment is critical for the selection of the proper nucleotides to read. After all, all cells that constitute an organism contain the same genome in their nuclei. Further, the same cistron can be operated on in different ways to code for different proteins.

A substantial proportion of human DNA makes use of such alternative splicing. Jablonka and Lamb noted that one gene in the chicken has been found to have different splice versions—although, as is usually the case, these are minor variations of each other.

Finally, after the nucleotides are properly sequenced, the environment has long been recognized as essential for actual protein construction. For example, a protein's shape, usually critical for its function, depends on environmental features as well as on the sequence of specified amino acids.

This collection of findings means that the very definition of a gene can be less than straightforward. Although the generic cistron usually qualifies, as Keller noted,. The gene has lost a good deal of both its specificity and its agency. Which protein should a gene make, and under what circumstances? And how does it choose? In fact, it doesn't. Responsibility for this decision lies elsewhere, in the complex regulatory dynamics of the cell as a whole.

It is from these regulatory dynamics, and not from the gene itself, that the signal or signals determining the specific pattern in which the final transcript is to be formed actually comes.

In other words, environmental factors are critical in determining what protein-coding exons get read from a cistron, when, and how often. Thus, the very concept of a gene requires the environment.

As Moore puts it,. The cellular-level mechanisms involved in these operations are epigenetic , meaning that they entail nongenetic factors that are inherited themselves or that affect genetic inheritance and gene expression.

For example, DNA methylation, which does not affect the genotype, reduces the likelihood of gene expression. Methylation patterns can themselves be inherited. If the capacity to produce proteins for a needed function is present in the genome, it can be unmasked through epigenetic means.

The resuscitated gene can then be available once again for natural selection to act on. Epigenetic mechanisms also have large effects on the DNA that helps regulate the protein-coding genes, such as the transposons so-called jumping genes that constitute a large proportion of the mammalian genome. And, as Jablonka and Lamb noted, epigenetic changes are reversible, thus offering readier adaptability to changing conditions than changes in the genes themselves.

These epigenetic mechanisms are in turn responsive to more molar-level environmental factors. But so of course is the genome itself. Chemicals and electromagnetic emissions are among the environmental factors well known to be capable of altering DNA directly. Environmental and behavioral factors routinely modify gene expression and activity see Gottlieb, , , for numerous documented ways.

Immediate early genes , for example, are activated by environmental signals. Stress is one of the factors documented to result in mutations in the DNA and some controversy exists over whether that phenomenon has been selected for or is simply a side effect. Compensations for these stress effects can occur by an adjustment of the expression of the same gene or in other ways e. Again, multiple pathways exist toward the same end. Several types of epigenetic inheritance systems have been discovered, including RNA interference subject of a recent Nobel prize , prions, and DNA methylation and other forms of chromatin marking i.

As contrasted to the genetic system, the epigenetic inheritance system transmits phenotypes, not genotypes, a feature it shares with behavioral inheritance systems see below. These mechanisms do not act only in single-celled organisms. Pavelka and Koudelova found that Mediterranean flour moth larvae with a mutation for short antennae developed normal-length antennae as adults, if raised at a higher incubation temperature than normal during a sensitive period.

Their offspring for several generations retained this feature, despite the short-antennae genotype, and despite being raised at the normal incubation temperature, with epigenetic inheritance mechanisms considered the most likely cause. Examples in vertebrates also exist e. Inheritance is complex, and Moore's deconstruction of heritability shows how simplistic and misleading the usage of that construct has often been. Heritability is defined as the proportion of trait variation associated with corresponding genetic variation—in a particular population under particular circumstances.

What do these numbers really mean? To begin, Moore summarizes a famous illustration by Lewontin If seeds varying in genetic constitution are raised in identical environments, any differences among the plants, such as height, must be due to genetic variation.

Yet, the differences between these two groups obviously depend on the environments. And, whatever the heritability, plants need soil, water, and sunlight to grow.

Moore continues the analogy with the example of cloned seeds seeds with identical genes raised in environments that are not identical. In this case, any height or other trait differences must be due to environmental differences, so heritability is 0. But genes are obviously necessary. For the same trait in the same species, then, heritability can vary throughout its range as a function of circumstances.

Indeed, the heritability of IQ has long been known to be substantially lower in children than in adults, e. Two examples drawn by Moore from Block bring home the point. First, the number of human fingers and toes has very low heritability. Variability in digit number is largely accounted for by accidents or disease—environmental factors, not genetic variation. As discussed previously, the teratogen thalidomide provides one example: Second, the wearing of earrings in s America had high heritability: Only females used to be likely to wear earrings then, explaining the genetic correlation.

But cultural factors were clearly as critical then as they are now for this behavior, now that its heritability must be lower. So, although heritability sounds like it quantifies the degree to which a trait itself is determined by genes, it does not. And of course it could not: Genes and environmental factors are both always necessary; recall Moore's example of the bicycle pedals for forward propulsion only in conjunction with other essential parts.

This is just the beginning of the confusions concerning this correlational construct. Heritability estimates statistically apportion sources of variation in traits, but they apply only to the specific populations and contexts from which they are derived. They cannot be generalized to other populations or circumstances without extra empirical evidence. And if the original context varies—if environments are sometimes similar and sometimes different in ways that affect the trait—the estimates themselves are confounded.

Heritability estimates apply only to groups, and are inherently inapplicable to individuals in any sense. And they do not imply causation. As Moore notes, all of these important limitations have been frequently ignored or minimized. Consider also a pair of identical twins reared in different environments. Lack of sun in one location may be matched in effect by poor soil in another, for example. Similarly, identical twins raised in different environments may share a trait outcome not because of their shared genes, but because of similar or different features of their different environments, features that might have produced the same outcome regardless of a wide variety of genetic differences.

Along these lines, being raised in the same family does not mean that environments do not vary in many significant ways. Just one such difference can be enough to create a large and long-lasting effect on a trait, a point John B.

Watson made many years ago. As behavior analysts know, individualized operant and classical conditioning histories are critical in the development of behavioral patterns and characteristics. For the purposes of heritability estimates, genes and environments can be directly controlled only for plants and some nonhuman animals, and even then, these efforts often fail. On a number of behavioral tests, however, different laboratories found different results for the same genetic strain, differences sometimes bigger across laboratories than across strains.

For humans, bombarded by rich and varied experiences every day, many of the environmental factors cannot even be measured, let alone controlled. Scientists do not even know which ones to attempt to measure. For example, only recently have data been collected suggesting the critical importance for language and cognitive development of the sheer volume of speech addressed to toddlers. These are a handful of the many environmental factors known to affect children selectively even in ostensibly similar environments.

In this regard, Hart and Risley found marked differences among working-class families in their critical variables and in the corresponding later outcomes. Several experimental studies have suggested that intense interventions providing the extra stimulation can have significant longer term benefits, including increases in IQ e. No heritability studies have taken these variables into account. The fact that environmental features can covary with genes adds another complication, illustrated by the classic example of pellagra.

This disease of malnutrition was once claimed to be genetic because it appeared to run selectively in families: Family members of those with pellagra were more likely to have the disease than nonfamily members.

Heritability estimates would probably have been fairly high. High heritability can of course mean that a genetic abnormality is important, as in the case of PKU, but in this case it did not. Instead, socioeconomic status, naturally correlated with degree of genetic relatedness, proved to be the key: Those who were poor were simply failing to obtain adequate supplies of Vitamin B3. The point is that an environmental factor unknown at the time was confounded with genetic relatedness.

Cultural factors are often directly correlated with genetic variation, with sex and race as classic examples although such genetic differences are small, e.

Skin color continues to affect the way that people are treated, for example. Heritability estimates are based in effect on the averaging of environmental factors. A factor like racism, which is known to correlate with genes, must be statistically accounted for, to the extent possible e. Behavior analysts are in an especially good position to recognize the difficulties with this approach. Without knowledge of the actual causal relations, the effort to control for the many confounding variables statistically is limited in its effectiveness see Block, ; Moore, p.

After a period of renewed debate instigated by Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve to which Block, , was responding , a consensus that this is the case may now have been achieved by those in this field e. Other developments have converged, such as the acceptance of the well-documented steady increase in IQ in many developed nations over each succeeding decade see Moore on the Flynn effect. The consequences of the nature—nurture misunderstandings have been and continue to be serious, though. Genetic determinism, itself problematic, has sometimes been accompanied by an implicit or explicit assumption that environmental interventions are futile or limited in effectiveness.

Moore describes the effects of such views on social policies, cultural beliefs, and individual actions. And he does not shrink from the larger political implications. He notes, for example, that genetic determinism for intelligence could be and sometimes has been taken to imply a lesser need for access by all to quality education. Given the fact that it is simply impossible to identify people who are genetically unable to benefit from access to social resources like quality education and nutrition, it seems incumbent upon democratic societies to distribute these resources equitably.

The fact that genetic information alone will never be able to specify which people would benefit most or least from access to these resources merely serves to reinforce this exigency. As noted above, heritability estimates for so-called genetic diseases must be both performed and interpreted with considerable caution. The provenance of a disorder like autism is of great concern, and heritability estimates are usually high e.

However, autism and autism spectrum disorders have apparently been increasing in incidence although some consider the increase to be illusory. Their causation is still unknown despite years of effort, but research proceeds, and a specific gene abnormality was recently suggested as a predisposing factor e. Thus, shared genes and shared environments can still be extremely difficult or even impossible to disentangle with current techniques.

And because of incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, even in the case of diseases like PKU that are associated with a single gene, sometimes only one identical twin manifests the disorder.

For all these reasons, the genetic determinism sometimes drawn from the twin studies is an obvious target, and Moore's critical analysis makes enjoyable reading. Genetic determination has been suggested for very unlikely traits indeed. The occurrence of coincidences is especially beloved by the mass media: Genes code for proteins, not first names, but confirmation bias is rampant, and dissimilarities can go unexamined.

As Moore discusses, such coincidences are due mainly to growing up in the same era, and usually in the same social class and the same or similar neighborhood, as has been documented. As a result, comparable unrelated individuals can also share a surprising number of similarities. And such environmentally influenced similarities that are not explicitly accounted for statistically can and do serve to inflate the heritability estimate. On top of this factor, the effects of similar appearance can be dismayingly large, 5 especially important for comparing fraternal and identical twins.

Finally, according to Moore, about one third of identical twins but no fraternal twins share a chorion, a membrane that is part of the placenta, and hence experience more similar prenatal environments. Some researchers have documented observable effects of this variable. Similarities across any two people, related or not, are due to genes and environment working together in their complex, interacting ways.

Heritability percentages are problematic even when applied to the groups from which they are drawn. As Moore points out, it is eminently intuitive that some traits, like the shape of a nose, seem to be less influenced by environmental factors, whereas others, like hair style, seem more environmentally determined. But the many caveats are very important.

Adding yet more caveats, Moore summarizes the pioneering work of developmental psychobiologist Gilbert Gottlieb on the provenance of a species-typical behavior like imprinting, which used to be thought of in this way. Gottlieb's research with duckling imprinting showed that nonobvious experiential factors could be critical to the development of innate behaviors such as the unlearned preference for the species-typical maternal call.

In one species, ducklings had to hear their own or siblings' contact calls prenatally in order to develop the normal preference, even though these calls bore no resemblance to the maternal call. In another species, perinatal experience hearing siblings' alarm calls was essential. Thus, the normal developmental canalization toward species-typical preference included not only genes, physiological contributors, and other expected variables, but entirely unexpected environmental factors as well.

Gottlieb discovered that, as a result, preferences for other species' calls could readily be induced by environmental manipulations Gottlieb, ; see Schneider, , for a review and commentary. A critical recognition is. The extent to which experiences influence a trait's development reflects a variety of factors …, but it does not reflect the extent to which genes control the trait's development.

As Moore points out, the detection of such nonobvious contributors requires special care. Mother rats' licking of male preweanlings has been shown to be essential for the later development of normal sexual behavior C. However, separating the pups from their mother after weaning, raising them in social isolation, and observing normal sexual behavior might be taken to suggest that the environment is unimportant, which is clearly far from the case.

Many such examples of nonobvious environmental contributors are now known to exist see, e. Experience is critical for development in myriad ways, and Moore notes research showing that corresponding brain plasticity is now known to be higher throughout the lifespan than had been thought.

The fantastic chimeras created by embryologists who combine parts of different creatures have demonstrated how the environment, not the genes, determines which cells become parts of what organs, and just how plastic that process is. Moore, an infancy researcher himself, focuses especially on perinatal development, the source of an explosion of news over the past few decades.

One phenomenon is fetal programming, a lifelong predisposition to obesity caused by poor maternal nutrition at a particular prenatal stage. Of special interest to behavior analysts, Spear and his colleagues have shown that placental or mammary exposure to ethanol at levels far below those for fetal alcohol syndrome establishes it as a reinforcer later, and can perhaps contribute to alcoholism e.

Here again, confusion can arise over genetic and nongenetic familial inheritance patterns. Developmental work has complemented behavioral work in documenting nongenetic inheritance mechanisms in addition to the more molecular epigenetic ones discussed previously. For example, it has long been known in humans and other mammals that acquired immunity can be transmitted nongenetically, through breast milk and the placenta.

Later behavioral effects include greater aggression and the ability to hold larger territories. Such female gerbils tend in turn to have male-dominated litters, so their daughters show the same patterns, thus providing another illustration of nongenetic inheritance.

Behavioral mechanisms are involved, and the extra licking provides an excellent example. Further, as discussed previously, similar extra licking of male pups by rat mothers was demonstrated to be critical for later male sexual behavior.

This behavior has been shown to be caused by testosterone or associated hormones in the male rat pups' urine, which act as a reinforcer for the mothers' licking C. Moore, , Cross-fostering studies, in which young of one genetic strain are reared by mothers of a different strain, are especially useful in studies of gene—environment inheritance relations.

Integral once again were behavioral mechanisms similar in some ways to the differential maternal handling discovered by C. Operant behavior comes even more to the forefront in the social learning that is an obvious behavioral inheritance mechanism. Berman noted likely operant involvement in the maternal parenting styles that tend to be passed down from mother to daughter for generations in rhesus monkeys see Fairbanks, , and Suomi, , for related research.

For example, access to an infant sibling is reinforcing for most females, and maternal rejections of the infant can be discriminative stimuli signaling an opportunity for access. Attention to the mother's parenting of the sibling is sometimes reinforced by access to the mother as well.

Berman suggests that such stimulus control facilitates learning of a parenting style through imitation which of course involves operants; see, e. Observational learning is also critical for the transmission of foraging techniques. An impressive variety of such behavioral inheritance mechanisms across the animal kingdom is documented in Animal Traditions: The evolutionary implications are significant. And he imagines doing it without having to leverage the insights of human linguists, psychologists or cognitive scientists.

He acknowledged that unsupervised deep learning has a chance of success. He cited his own work and that of colleagues such as Elizabeth Spelke , a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, in showing how human children have the capacity very early on to perceive concepts such as persons, objects, sets and places.

LeCun agreed that AI needs some structure to help it comprehend the world. In his view, AI could benefit greatly from a single learning principle — or collection of such principles — that would arise with or without having built-in structure modeled on innate cognitive machinery.

Common sense enables humans and animals to fill in missing information based on their knowledge of how the world works. That is why human drivers do not need to crash into a tree 50, times before they realize that is a bad idea; humans already have a sense of what might happen if they steer their car into a tree.

LeCun hopes that unsupervised learning can lead AI to eventually develop a sense of how the world works from a physics standpoint, if not some crude form of common sense. If the unsupervised learning algorithms eventually require more structure similar to cognitive representations of objects, sets, places, and so forth, Marcus could claim victory. If unsupervised learning finds success without requiring such structure, then LeCun would have been proven correct.

can also customize the

And he imagines doing it without having to leverage the insights of human linguists, psychologists or cognitive scientists. He acknowledged that unsupervised deep learning has a chance of success. He cited his own work and that of colleagues such as Elizabeth Spelke , a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, in showing how human children have the capacity very early on to perceive concepts such as persons, objects, sets and places. LeCun agreed that AI needs some structure to help it comprehend the world.

In his view, AI could benefit greatly from a single learning principle — or collection of such principles — that would arise with or without having built-in structure modeled on innate cognitive machinery. Common sense enables humans and animals to fill in missing information based on their knowledge of how the world works.

That is why human drivers do not need to crash into a tree 50, times before they realize that is a bad idea; humans already have a sense of what might happen if they steer their car into a tree. LeCun hopes that unsupervised learning can lead AI to eventually develop a sense of how the world works from a physics standpoint, if not some crude form of common sense.

If the unsupervised learning algorithms eventually require more structure similar to cognitive representations of objects, sets, places, and so forth, Marcus could claim victory. If unsupervised learning finds success without requiring such structure, then LeCun would have been proven correct.

Epigenetic mechanisms also have large effects on the DNA that helps regulate the protein-coding genes, such as the transposons so-called jumping genes that constitute a large proportion of the mammalian genome.

And, as Jablonka and Lamb noted, epigenetic changes are reversible, thus offering readier adaptability to changing conditions than changes in the genes themselves.

These epigenetic mechanisms are in turn responsive to more molar-level environmental factors. But so of course is the genome itself. Chemicals and electromagnetic emissions are among the environmental factors well known to be capable of altering DNA directly.

Environmental and behavioral factors routinely modify gene expression and activity see Gottlieb, , , for numerous documented ways. Immediate early genes , for example, are activated by environmental signals. Stress is one of the factors documented to result in mutations in the DNA and some controversy exists over whether that phenomenon has been selected for or is simply a side effect.

Compensations for these stress effects can occur by an adjustment of the expression of the same gene or in other ways e. Again, multiple pathways exist toward the same end.

Several types of epigenetic inheritance systems have been discovered, including RNA interference subject of a recent Nobel prize , prions, and DNA methylation and other forms of chromatin marking i. As contrasted to the genetic system, the epigenetic inheritance system transmits phenotypes, not genotypes, a feature it shares with behavioral inheritance systems see below. These mechanisms do not act only in single-celled organisms. Pavelka and Koudelova found that Mediterranean flour moth larvae with a mutation for short antennae developed normal-length antennae as adults, if raised at a higher incubation temperature than normal during a sensitive period.

Their offspring for several generations retained this feature, despite the short-antennae genotype, and despite being raised at the normal incubation temperature, with epigenetic inheritance mechanisms considered the most likely cause.

Examples in vertebrates also exist e. Inheritance is complex, and Moore's deconstruction of heritability shows how simplistic and misleading the usage of that construct has often been. Heritability is defined as the proportion of trait variation associated with corresponding genetic variation—in a particular population under particular circumstances.

What do these numbers really mean? To begin, Moore summarizes a famous illustration by Lewontin If seeds varying in genetic constitution are raised in identical environments, any differences among the plants, such as height, must be due to genetic variation. Yet, the differences between these two groups obviously depend on the environments.

And, whatever the heritability, plants need soil, water, and sunlight to grow. Moore continues the analogy with the example of cloned seeds seeds with identical genes raised in environments that are not identical.

In this case, any height or other trait differences must be due to environmental differences, so heritability is 0. But genes are obviously necessary. For the same trait in the same species, then, heritability can vary throughout its range as a function of circumstances. Indeed, the heritability of IQ has long been known to be substantially lower in children than in adults, e.

Two examples drawn by Moore from Block bring home the point. First, the number of human fingers and toes has very low heritability. Variability in digit number is largely accounted for by accidents or disease—environmental factors, not genetic variation. As discussed previously, the teratogen thalidomide provides one example: Second, the wearing of earrings in s America had high heritability: Only females used to be likely to wear earrings then, explaining the genetic correlation.

But cultural factors were clearly as critical then as they are now for this behavior, now that its heritability must be lower. So, although heritability sounds like it quantifies the degree to which a trait itself is determined by genes, it does not.

And of course it could not: Genes and environmental factors are both always necessary; recall Moore's example of the bicycle pedals for forward propulsion only in conjunction with other essential parts.

This is just the beginning of the confusions concerning this correlational construct. Heritability estimates statistically apportion sources of variation in traits, but they apply only to the specific populations and contexts from which they are derived.

They cannot be generalized to other populations or circumstances without extra empirical evidence. And if the original context varies—if environments are sometimes similar and sometimes different in ways that affect the trait—the estimates themselves are confounded. Heritability estimates apply only to groups, and are inherently inapplicable to individuals in any sense.

And they do not imply causation. As Moore notes, all of these important limitations have been frequently ignored or minimized. Consider also a pair of identical twins reared in different environments.

Lack of sun in one location may be matched in effect by poor soil in another, for example. Similarly, identical twins raised in different environments may share a trait outcome not because of their shared genes, but because of similar or different features of their different environments, features that might have produced the same outcome regardless of a wide variety of genetic differences.

Along these lines, being raised in the same family does not mean that environments do not vary in many significant ways. Just one such difference can be enough to create a large and long-lasting effect on a trait, a point John B. Watson made many years ago. As behavior analysts know, individualized operant and classical conditioning histories are critical in the development of behavioral patterns and characteristics.

For the purposes of heritability estimates, genes and environments can be directly controlled only for plants and some nonhuman animals, and even then, these efforts often fail. On a number of behavioral tests, however, different laboratories found different results for the same genetic strain, differences sometimes bigger across laboratories than across strains.

For humans, bombarded by rich and varied experiences every day, many of the environmental factors cannot even be measured, let alone controlled. Scientists do not even know which ones to attempt to measure. For example, only recently have data been collected suggesting the critical importance for language and cognitive development of the sheer volume of speech addressed to toddlers. These are a handful of the many environmental factors known to affect children selectively even in ostensibly similar environments.

In this regard, Hart and Risley found marked differences among working-class families in their critical variables and in the corresponding later outcomes. Several experimental studies have suggested that intense interventions providing the extra stimulation can have significant longer term benefits, including increases in IQ e. No heritability studies have taken these variables into account. The fact that environmental features can covary with genes adds another complication, illustrated by the classic example of pellagra.

This disease of malnutrition was once claimed to be genetic because it appeared to run selectively in families: Family members of those with pellagra were more likely to have the disease than nonfamily members. Heritability estimates would probably have been fairly high. High heritability can of course mean that a genetic abnormality is important, as in the case of PKU, but in this case it did not. Instead, socioeconomic status, naturally correlated with degree of genetic relatedness, proved to be the key: Those who were poor were simply failing to obtain adequate supplies of Vitamin B3.

The point is that an environmental factor unknown at the time was confounded with genetic relatedness. Cultural factors are often directly correlated with genetic variation, with sex and race as classic examples although such genetic differences are small, e.

Skin color continues to affect the way that people are treated, for example. Heritability estimates are based in effect on the averaging of environmental factors. A factor like racism, which is known to correlate with genes, must be statistically accounted for, to the extent possible e. Behavior analysts are in an especially good position to recognize the difficulties with this approach. Without knowledge of the actual causal relations, the effort to control for the many confounding variables statistically is limited in its effectiveness see Block, ; Moore, p.

After a period of renewed debate instigated by Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve to which Block, , was responding , a consensus that this is the case may now have been achieved by those in this field e. Other developments have converged, such as the acceptance of the well-documented steady increase in IQ in many developed nations over each succeeding decade see Moore on the Flynn effect. The consequences of the nature—nurture misunderstandings have been and continue to be serious, though.

Genetic determinism, itself problematic, has sometimes been accompanied by an implicit or explicit assumption that environmental interventions are futile or limited in effectiveness. Moore describes the effects of such views on social policies, cultural beliefs, and individual actions.

And he does not shrink from the larger political implications. He notes, for example, that genetic determinism for intelligence could be and sometimes has been taken to imply a lesser need for access by all to quality education. Given the fact that it is simply impossible to identify people who are genetically unable to benefit from access to social resources like quality education and nutrition, it seems incumbent upon democratic societies to distribute these resources equitably.

The fact that genetic information alone will never be able to specify which people would benefit most or least from access to these resources merely serves to reinforce this exigency. As noted above, heritability estimates for so-called genetic diseases must be both performed and interpreted with considerable caution. The provenance of a disorder like autism is of great concern, and heritability estimates are usually high e. However, autism and autism spectrum disorders have apparently been increasing in incidence although some consider the increase to be illusory.

Their causation is still unknown despite years of effort, but research proceeds, and a specific gene abnormality was recently suggested as a predisposing factor e. Thus, shared genes and shared environments can still be extremely difficult or even impossible to disentangle with current techniques. And because of incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, even in the case of diseases like PKU that are associated with a single gene, sometimes only one identical twin manifests the disorder.

For all these reasons, the genetic determinism sometimes drawn from the twin studies is an obvious target, and Moore's critical analysis makes enjoyable reading.

Genetic determination has been suggested for very unlikely traits indeed. The occurrence of coincidences is especially beloved by the mass media: Genes code for proteins, not first names, but confirmation bias is rampant, and dissimilarities can go unexamined.

As Moore discusses, such coincidences are due mainly to growing up in the same era, and usually in the same social class and the same or similar neighborhood, as has been documented. As a result, comparable unrelated individuals can also share a surprising number of similarities.

And such environmentally influenced similarities that are not explicitly accounted for statistically can and do serve to inflate the heritability estimate. On top of this factor, the effects of similar appearance can be dismayingly large, 5 especially important for comparing fraternal and identical twins.

Finally, according to Moore, about one third of identical twins but no fraternal twins share a chorion, a membrane that is part of the placenta, and hence experience more similar prenatal environments. Some researchers have documented observable effects of this variable. Similarities across any two people, related or not, are due to genes and environment working together in their complex, interacting ways.

Heritability percentages are problematic even when applied to the groups from which they are drawn. As Moore points out, it is eminently intuitive that some traits, like the shape of a nose, seem to be less influenced by environmental factors, whereas others, like hair style, seem more environmentally determined. But the many caveats are very important.

Adding yet more caveats, Moore summarizes the pioneering work of developmental psychobiologist Gilbert Gottlieb on the provenance of a species-typical behavior like imprinting, which used to be thought of in this way.

Gottlieb's research with duckling imprinting showed that nonobvious experiential factors could be critical to the development of innate behaviors such as the unlearned preference for the species-typical maternal call. In one species, ducklings had to hear their own or siblings' contact calls prenatally in order to develop the normal preference, even though these calls bore no resemblance to the maternal call.

In another species, perinatal experience hearing siblings' alarm calls was essential. Thus, the normal developmental canalization toward species-typical preference included not only genes, physiological contributors, and other expected variables, but entirely unexpected environmental factors as well.

Gottlieb discovered that, as a result, preferences for other species' calls could readily be induced by environmental manipulations Gottlieb, ; see Schneider, , for a review and commentary. A critical recognition is. The extent to which experiences influence a trait's development reflects a variety of factors …, but it does not reflect the extent to which genes control the trait's development.

As Moore points out, the detection of such nonobvious contributors requires special care. Mother rats' licking of male preweanlings has been shown to be essential for the later development of normal sexual behavior C. However, separating the pups from their mother after weaning, raising them in social isolation, and observing normal sexual behavior might be taken to suggest that the environment is unimportant, which is clearly far from the case.

Many such examples of nonobvious environmental contributors are now known to exist see, e. Experience is critical for development in myriad ways, and Moore notes research showing that corresponding brain plasticity is now known to be higher throughout the lifespan than had been thought. The fantastic chimeras created by embryologists who combine parts of different creatures have demonstrated how the environment, not the genes, determines which cells become parts of what organs, and just how plastic that process is.

Moore, an infancy researcher himself, focuses especially on perinatal development, the source of an explosion of news over the past few decades. One phenomenon is fetal programming, a lifelong predisposition to obesity caused by poor maternal nutrition at a particular prenatal stage. Of special interest to behavior analysts, Spear and his colleagues have shown that placental or mammary exposure to ethanol at levels far below those for fetal alcohol syndrome establishes it as a reinforcer later, and can perhaps contribute to alcoholism e.

Here again, confusion can arise over genetic and nongenetic familial inheritance patterns. Developmental work has complemented behavioral work in documenting nongenetic inheritance mechanisms in addition to the more molecular epigenetic ones discussed previously.

For example, it has long been known in humans and other mammals that acquired immunity can be transmitted nongenetically, through breast milk and the placenta.

Later behavioral effects include greater aggression and the ability to hold larger territories. Such female gerbils tend in turn to have male-dominated litters, so their daughters show the same patterns, thus providing another illustration of nongenetic inheritance.

Behavioral mechanisms are involved, and the extra licking provides an excellent example. Further, as discussed previously, similar extra licking of male pups by rat mothers was demonstrated to be critical for later male sexual behavior. This behavior has been shown to be caused by testosterone or associated hormones in the male rat pups' urine, which act as a reinforcer for the mothers' licking C.

Moore, , Cross-fostering studies, in which young of one genetic strain are reared by mothers of a different strain, are especially useful in studies of gene—environment inheritance relations. Integral once again were behavioral mechanisms similar in some ways to the differential maternal handling discovered by C.

Operant behavior comes even more to the forefront in the social learning that is an obvious behavioral inheritance mechanism. Berman noted likely operant involvement in the maternal parenting styles that tend to be passed down from mother to daughter for generations in rhesus monkeys see Fairbanks, , and Suomi, , for related research.

For example, access to an infant sibling is reinforcing for most females, and maternal rejections of the infant can be discriminative stimuli signaling an opportunity for access. Attention to the mother's parenting of the sibling is sometimes reinforced by access to the mother as well. Berman suggests that such stimulus control facilitates learning of a parenting style through imitation which of course involves operants; see, e.

Observational learning is also critical for the transmission of foraging techniques. An impressive variety of such behavioral inheritance mechanisms across the animal kingdom is documented in Animal Traditions: The evolutionary implications are significant. Moore, ; Schneider, However, he emphasizes two key associated insights.

First, environments are passed along rather like genes and the essential cytoplasm containing the genes:. To the extent that we cannot help but develop in environments that are similar in important ways to the environments in which our parents developed, the legacy we receive from our parents includes both our genes and aspects of our developmental environments.

Evolutionarily speaking, both genes and critical features of environments are and must be reasonably stable across generations. Second, as Moore points out, natural selection does not act directly on genes, but on phenotypes. Phenotypes are produced and modified by both genes and environments, and behavior principles have an important role. Evolution might even be considered to proceed by lasting phenotypic changes regardless of whether there is an accompanying change in the genome, a controversial proposal made by Gottlieb Moore, p.

These lines of thought are at the heart of the integrative, empirically based approach to nature—nurture relations known as developmental systems theory.

The Dependent Gene is one of the first trade books on developmental systems theory, which encompasses all the research areas bearing on nature—nurture relations. Behavior analysis is eminently consistent with this approach, one that makes the role of environmental factors like behavior principles explicit. The very title of a recent edited work in this tradition is significant: Moore's book provides an excellent introduction.

Other notable recent books that can reasonably be grouped under the developmental systems rubric include Avital and Jablonka , Blumberg , Gottlieb , Oyama , and West-Eberhard For behavior-analytic reviews, see Midgley and Morris and Schneider The Dependent Gene is well documented with ample footnotes.

Finally, in Moore's valuable evolutionary discussion of heterochrony changes in developmental timing , an update on the nature of its role in human evolution may be required e. Moore's book focuses on dangers of the concept of genetic determinism.

Scientists' new power to investigate the complex causation in nature—nurture relations has benefited, of course, from the mapping of the human genome.

The resulting tendency to focus on the genes does not necessarily lead to less effort to understand the environmental contributors by any means, but it can have that effect. Eliminating the indigestible amino acid from the diet currently provides the best treatment. The particulars of each problem determine how best it can be handled, so, in the future, some problems thought of as environmentally determined may be best dealt with through gene therapies.

For now, those therapies appear to remain distant possibilities. Moore also notes that, although it is inherently less likely to lead to the stuck-with-it do-nothing outcome that has sometimes resulted from genetic determinism, environmental determinism is problematic too.

After all, environmental interventions operate on organisms built in part by genes, and they continue to be affected by genes through gene products. Even features that seem largely controlled by environmental factors for almost everyone are influenced by genes, and can be very different given enough of a change in the genome.

An obvious example for behavior analysts is learning, in the case of PKU or Down syndrome, with their documented genetic contributions. But more subtle examples exist too, and behavioral interventions may sometimes fail to work because of unrecognized genetic factors see, e. Knowledge of such genetic involvement would be very helpful even without the existence of gene therapies.

If they were to exist, the known presence in an individual of genetic predispositions for alcoholism or autism, for example, means that behavioral and other environmental countermeasures could be targeted at an early age. The presence of interactions means that the predispositions might be problematic only in particular environments to begin with.

The 21st century brings a revolution in our understanding of nature—nurture relations, one that clearly goes far beyond the mapping of the human genome. As The Dependent Gene documents, genes and environmental factors interact at all levels in very complex ways. The more dissemination of this spectrum of findings, the better for fields like behavior analysis that are focused on behavior—environment principles that do not always get the same respect as genetics.

Ironically, many geneticists do recognize the important role of the environment e. Similarly, behavior analysts have always recognized the importance of genetic involvement in the phenomena they study and now the practical implications are growing.

But that fact has not always been acknowledged either: As Morris, Lazo, and Smith documented, although B. Skinner wrote amply about biological, genetic, and evolutionary involvement in behavior, he was and continues to be frequently accused of neglect. Behavior analysts can be proactive by talking knowledgeably about their science's relation to the larger life sciences—and the pivotal role of the behavior processes they study and apply.

Awareness of the nature—nurture relations described in The Dependent Gene can provide support as well as illumination. I thank Robert Lickliter, Edward K. Reese, and Ken R. Schneider for their helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript. Moore has been criticized for failing to discuss the knockout gene studies, but they can actually be taken to bolster his case.

The white author of Black Like Me changed his skin color to experience life as a black man in the South, resulting in a powerful and influential work Griffin, They can be very different in appearance as well as in other characteristics; even cloned animals can look dissimilar see Moore.

The degree of environmental similarity is an obvious factor. In corroboration, Fraga et al. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Behav Anal v.

sticks are

He acknowledged that unsupervised deep learning has a chance of success. He cited his own work and that of colleagues such as Elizabeth Spelke , a cognitive psychologist at Harvard University, in showing how human children have the capacity very early on to perceive concepts such as persons, objects, sets and places. LeCun agreed that AI needs some structure to help it comprehend the world.

In his view, AI could benefit greatly from a single learning principle — or collection of such principles — that would arise with or without having built-in structure modeled on innate cognitive machinery.

Common sense enables humans and animals to fill in missing information based on their knowledge of how the world works. That is why human drivers do not need to crash into a tree 50, times before they realize that is a bad idea; humans already have a sense of what might happen if they steer their car into a tree.

LeCun hopes that unsupervised learning can lead AI to eventually develop a sense of how the world works from a physics standpoint, if not some crude form of common sense. If the unsupervised learning algorithms eventually require more structure similar to cognitive representations of objects, sets, places, and so forth, Marcus could claim victory.

If unsupervised learning finds success without requiring such structure, then LeCun would have been proven correct. Bitmain built the majority of the computing power on the Bitcoin network.

For the purposes of heritability estimates, genes and environments can be directly controlled only for plants and some nonhuman animals, and even then, these efforts often fail. On a number of behavioral tests, however, different laboratories found different results for the same genetic strain, differences sometimes bigger across laboratories than across strains. For humans, bombarded by rich and varied experiences every day, many of the environmental factors cannot even be measured, let alone controlled.

Scientists do not even know which ones to attempt to measure. For example, only recently have data been collected suggesting the critical importance for language and cognitive development of the sheer volume of speech addressed to toddlers. These are a handful of the many environmental factors known to affect children selectively even in ostensibly similar environments. In this regard, Hart and Risley found marked differences among working-class families in their critical variables and in the corresponding later outcomes.

Several experimental studies have suggested that intense interventions providing the extra stimulation can have significant longer term benefits, including increases in IQ e. No heritability studies have taken these variables into account. The fact that environmental features can covary with genes adds another complication, illustrated by the classic example of pellagra.

This disease of malnutrition was once claimed to be genetic because it appeared to run selectively in families: Family members of those with pellagra were more likely to have the disease than nonfamily members. Heritability estimates would probably have been fairly high. High heritability can of course mean that a genetic abnormality is important, as in the case of PKU, but in this case it did not. Instead, socioeconomic status, naturally correlated with degree of genetic relatedness, proved to be the key: Those who were poor were simply failing to obtain adequate supplies of Vitamin B3.

The point is that an environmental factor unknown at the time was confounded with genetic relatedness. Cultural factors are often directly correlated with genetic variation, with sex and race as classic examples although such genetic differences are small, e. Skin color continues to affect the way that people are treated, for example. Heritability estimates are based in effect on the averaging of environmental factors. A factor like racism, which is known to correlate with genes, must be statistically accounted for, to the extent possible e.

Behavior analysts are in an especially good position to recognize the difficulties with this approach. Without knowledge of the actual causal relations, the effort to control for the many confounding variables statistically is limited in its effectiveness see Block, ; Moore, p. After a period of renewed debate instigated by Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve to which Block, , was responding , a consensus that this is the case may now have been achieved by those in this field e.

Other developments have converged, such as the acceptance of the well-documented steady increase in IQ in many developed nations over each succeeding decade see Moore on the Flynn effect. The consequences of the nature—nurture misunderstandings have been and continue to be serious, though.

Genetic determinism, itself problematic, has sometimes been accompanied by an implicit or explicit assumption that environmental interventions are futile or limited in effectiveness.

Moore describes the effects of such views on social policies, cultural beliefs, and individual actions. And he does not shrink from the larger political implications. He notes, for example, that genetic determinism for intelligence could be and sometimes has been taken to imply a lesser need for access by all to quality education.

Given the fact that it is simply impossible to identify people who are genetically unable to benefit from access to social resources like quality education and nutrition, it seems incumbent upon democratic societies to distribute these resources equitably.

The fact that genetic information alone will never be able to specify which people would benefit most or least from access to these resources merely serves to reinforce this exigency.

As noted above, heritability estimates for so-called genetic diseases must be both performed and interpreted with considerable caution. The provenance of a disorder like autism is of great concern, and heritability estimates are usually high e. However, autism and autism spectrum disorders have apparently been increasing in incidence although some consider the increase to be illusory.

Their causation is still unknown despite years of effort, but research proceeds, and a specific gene abnormality was recently suggested as a predisposing factor e. Thus, shared genes and shared environments can still be extremely difficult or even impossible to disentangle with current techniques.

And because of incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, even in the case of diseases like PKU that are associated with a single gene, sometimes only one identical twin manifests the disorder.

For all these reasons, the genetic determinism sometimes drawn from the twin studies is an obvious target, and Moore's critical analysis makes enjoyable reading. Genetic determination has been suggested for very unlikely traits indeed. The occurrence of coincidences is especially beloved by the mass media: Genes code for proteins, not first names, but confirmation bias is rampant, and dissimilarities can go unexamined.

As Moore discusses, such coincidences are due mainly to growing up in the same era, and usually in the same social class and the same or similar neighborhood, as has been documented. As a result, comparable unrelated individuals can also share a surprising number of similarities.

And such environmentally influenced similarities that are not explicitly accounted for statistically can and do serve to inflate the heritability estimate. On top of this factor, the effects of similar appearance can be dismayingly large, 5 especially important for comparing fraternal and identical twins.

Finally, according to Moore, about one third of identical twins but no fraternal twins share a chorion, a membrane that is part of the placenta, and hence experience more similar prenatal environments.

Some researchers have documented observable effects of this variable. Similarities across any two people, related or not, are due to genes and environment working together in their complex, interacting ways.

Heritability percentages are problematic even when applied to the groups from which they are drawn. As Moore points out, it is eminently intuitive that some traits, like the shape of a nose, seem to be less influenced by environmental factors, whereas others, like hair style, seem more environmentally determined. But the many caveats are very important. Adding yet more caveats, Moore summarizes the pioneering work of developmental psychobiologist Gilbert Gottlieb on the provenance of a species-typical behavior like imprinting, which used to be thought of in this way.

Gottlieb's research with duckling imprinting showed that nonobvious experiential factors could be critical to the development of innate behaviors such as the unlearned preference for the species-typical maternal call. In one species, ducklings had to hear their own or siblings' contact calls prenatally in order to develop the normal preference, even though these calls bore no resemblance to the maternal call. In another species, perinatal experience hearing siblings' alarm calls was essential.

Thus, the normal developmental canalization toward species-typical preference included not only genes, physiological contributors, and other expected variables, but entirely unexpected environmental factors as well. Gottlieb discovered that, as a result, preferences for other species' calls could readily be induced by environmental manipulations Gottlieb, ; see Schneider, , for a review and commentary. A critical recognition is.

The extent to which experiences influence a trait's development reflects a variety of factors …, but it does not reflect the extent to which genes control the trait's development. As Moore points out, the detection of such nonobvious contributors requires special care. Mother rats' licking of male preweanlings has been shown to be essential for the later development of normal sexual behavior C.

However, separating the pups from their mother after weaning, raising them in social isolation, and observing normal sexual behavior might be taken to suggest that the environment is unimportant, which is clearly far from the case. Many such examples of nonobvious environmental contributors are now known to exist see, e. Experience is critical for development in myriad ways, and Moore notes research showing that corresponding brain plasticity is now known to be higher throughout the lifespan than had been thought.

The fantastic chimeras created by embryologists who combine parts of different creatures have demonstrated how the environment, not the genes, determines which cells become parts of what organs, and just how plastic that process is. Moore, an infancy researcher himself, focuses especially on perinatal development, the source of an explosion of news over the past few decades. One phenomenon is fetal programming, a lifelong predisposition to obesity caused by poor maternal nutrition at a particular prenatal stage.

Of special interest to behavior analysts, Spear and his colleagues have shown that placental or mammary exposure to ethanol at levels far below those for fetal alcohol syndrome establishes it as a reinforcer later, and can perhaps contribute to alcoholism e. Here again, confusion can arise over genetic and nongenetic familial inheritance patterns.

Developmental work has complemented behavioral work in documenting nongenetic inheritance mechanisms in addition to the more molecular epigenetic ones discussed previously. For example, it has long been known in humans and other mammals that acquired immunity can be transmitted nongenetically, through breast milk and the placenta. Later behavioral effects include greater aggression and the ability to hold larger territories.

Such female gerbils tend in turn to have male-dominated litters, so their daughters show the same patterns, thus providing another illustration of nongenetic inheritance. Behavioral mechanisms are involved, and the extra licking provides an excellent example. Further, as discussed previously, similar extra licking of male pups by rat mothers was demonstrated to be critical for later male sexual behavior.

This behavior has been shown to be caused by testosterone or associated hormones in the male rat pups' urine, which act as a reinforcer for the mothers' licking C. Moore, , Cross-fostering studies, in which young of one genetic strain are reared by mothers of a different strain, are especially useful in studies of gene—environment inheritance relations.

Integral once again were behavioral mechanisms similar in some ways to the differential maternal handling discovered by C. Operant behavior comes even more to the forefront in the social learning that is an obvious behavioral inheritance mechanism. Berman noted likely operant involvement in the maternal parenting styles that tend to be passed down from mother to daughter for generations in rhesus monkeys see Fairbanks, , and Suomi, , for related research.

For example, access to an infant sibling is reinforcing for most females, and maternal rejections of the infant can be discriminative stimuli signaling an opportunity for access. Attention to the mother's parenting of the sibling is sometimes reinforced by access to the mother as well. Berman suggests that such stimulus control facilitates learning of a parenting style through imitation which of course involves operants; see, e.

Observational learning is also critical for the transmission of foraging techniques. An impressive variety of such behavioral inheritance mechanisms across the animal kingdom is documented in Animal Traditions: The evolutionary implications are significant. Moore, ; Schneider, However, he emphasizes two key associated insights. First, environments are passed along rather like genes and the essential cytoplasm containing the genes:. To the extent that we cannot help but develop in environments that are similar in important ways to the environments in which our parents developed, the legacy we receive from our parents includes both our genes and aspects of our developmental environments.

Evolutionarily speaking, both genes and critical features of environments are and must be reasonably stable across generations. Second, as Moore points out, natural selection does not act directly on genes, but on phenotypes. Phenotypes are produced and modified by both genes and environments, and behavior principles have an important role. Evolution might even be considered to proceed by lasting phenotypic changes regardless of whether there is an accompanying change in the genome, a controversial proposal made by Gottlieb Moore, p.

These lines of thought are at the heart of the integrative, empirically based approach to nature—nurture relations known as developmental systems theory. The Dependent Gene is one of the first trade books on developmental systems theory, which encompasses all the research areas bearing on nature—nurture relations. Behavior analysis is eminently consistent with this approach, one that makes the role of environmental factors like behavior principles explicit.

The very title of a recent edited work in this tradition is significant: Moore's book provides an excellent introduction. Other notable recent books that can reasonably be grouped under the developmental systems rubric include Avital and Jablonka , Blumberg , Gottlieb , Oyama , and West-Eberhard For behavior-analytic reviews, see Midgley and Morris and Schneider The Dependent Gene is well documented with ample footnotes.

Finally, in Moore's valuable evolutionary discussion of heterochrony changes in developmental timing , an update on the nature of its role in human evolution may be required e. Moore's book focuses on dangers of the concept of genetic determinism. Scientists' new power to investigate the complex causation in nature—nurture relations has benefited, of course, from the mapping of the human genome.

The resulting tendency to focus on the genes does not necessarily lead to less effort to understand the environmental contributors by any means, but it can have that effect. Eliminating the indigestible amino acid from the diet currently provides the best treatment. The particulars of each problem determine how best it can be handled, so, in the future, some problems thought of as environmentally determined may be best dealt with through gene therapies.

For now, those therapies appear to remain distant possibilities. Moore also notes that, although it is inherently less likely to lead to the stuck-with-it do-nothing outcome that has sometimes resulted from genetic determinism, environmental determinism is problematic too.

After all, environmental interventions operate on organisms built in part by genes, and they continue to be affected by genes through gene products. Even features that seem largely controlled by environmental factors for almost everyone are influenced by genes, and can be very different given enough of a change in the genome.

An obvious example for behavior analysts is learning, in the case of PKU or Down syndrome, with their documented genetic contributions. But more subtle examples exist too, and behavioral interventions may sometimes fail to work because of unrecognized genetic factors see, e.

Knowledge of such genetic involvement would be very helpful even without the existence of gene therapies. If they were to exist, the known presence in an individual of genetic predispositions for alcoholism or autism, for example, means that behavioral and other environmental countermeasures could be targeted at an early age. The presence of interactions means that the predispositions might be problematic only in particular environments to begin with. The 21st century brings a revolution in our understanding of nature—nurture relations, one that clearly goes far beyond the mapping of the human genome.

As The Dependent Gene documents, genes and environmental factors interact at all levels in very complex ways. The more dissemination of this spectrum of findings, the better for fields like behavior analysis that are focused on behavior—environment principles that do not always get the same respect as genetics.

Ironically, many geneticists do recognize the important role of the environment e. Similarly, behavior analysts have always recognized the importance of genetic involvement in the phenomena they study and now the practical implications are growing.

But that fact has not always been acknowledged either: As Morris, Lazo, and Smith documented, although B. Skinner wrote amply about biological, genetic, and evolutionary involvement in behavior, he was and continues to be frequently accused of neglect.

Behavior analysts can be proactive by talking knowledgeably about their science's relation to the larger life sciences—and the pivotal role of the behavior processes they study and apply. Awareness of the nature—nurture relations described in The Dependent Gene can provide support as well as illumination. I thank Robert Lickliter, Edward K. Reese, and Ken R.

Schneider for their helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript. Moore has been criticized for failing to discuss the knockout gene studies, but they can actually be taken to bolster his case. The white author of Black Like Me changed his skin color to experience life as a black man in the South, resulting in a powerful and influential work Griffin, They can be very different in appearance as well as in other characteristics; even cloned animals can look dissimilar see Moore.

The degree of environmental similarity is an obvious factor. In corroboration, Fraga et al. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Behav Anal v. Reviewed by Susan M Schneider. Copyright The Association for Behavior Analysis. Abstract Nature—nurture views that smack of genetic determinism remain prevalent.

Morange concluded, for example, that There are no proteins specific to learning and memory but rather proteins that, through their function as relays or transmitters, have been harnessed by evolution in the development of cognitive processes. Defining the Gene The very process by which genes are said to code for proteins is far from simple.

Although the generic cistron usually qualifies, as Keller noted, The gene has lost a good deal of both its specificity and its agency. Genes, Epigenetics, and Epigenetic Inheritance The cellular-level mechanisms involved in these operations are epigenetic , meaning that they entail nongenetic factors that are inherited themselves or that affect genetic inheritance and gene expression.

Heritability Inheritance is complex, and Moore's deconstruction of heritability shows how simplistic and misleading the usage of that construct has often been. Understanding Heritability To begin, Moore summarizes a famous illustration by Lewontin Limitations, Confusions, and Confounding Variables This is just the beginning of the confusions concerning this correlational construct.

Genetic Determinism and the Twin Studies After a period of renewed debate instigated by Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve to which Block, , was responding , a consensus that this is the case may now have been achieved by those in this field e.

Behavioral Inheritance Developmental work has complemented behavioral work in documenting nongenetic inheritance mechanisms in addition to the more molecular epigenetic ones discussed previously.

First, environments are passed along rather like genes and the essential cytoplasm containing the genes: Developmental Systems Theory The Dependent Gene is one of the first trade books on developmental systems theory, which encompasses all the research areas bearing on nature—nurture relations. Environmental Determinism Moore's book focuses on dangers of the concept of genetic determinism.

Conclusion The 21st century brings a revolution in our understanding of nature—nurture relations, one that clearly goes far beyond the mapping of the human genome. Footnotes 1 Note the categorization difficulties with respect to the fuzzy set of nonmonogenic genetic diseases; note also other complications, such as the fact that the problematic allele for the monogenic disease sickle cell anemia is actually beneficial in heterozygous individuals.

References Avital E, Jablonka E. Behavioural inheritance in evolution. Cambridge University Press; Cytoplasmic inheritance of the organization of the cell cortex in Paramecium aurelia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Intergenerational transmission of maternal rejection rates among free-ranging rhesus monkeys. How heritability misleads about race. The genesis of behavior. A genetic variant that disrupts MET transcription is associated with autism. A contemporary behavior analytic interpretation. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. Hypertension in SHR rats: Contribution of maternal environment. American Journal of Physiology. Maternal behavior of spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto normotensive rats: Effects of reciprocal cross-fostering of litters.

Behavioral and Neural Biology. M, Bone S, Galef B. Uterine positions and schedules of urination: Correlates of differential maternal anogenital stimulation. M, Karpluk P, Galef B. Hormonally mediated inheritance of acquired characteristics in Mongolian gerbils.

C, Wahlsten C, Dudek B. Genetics of mouse behavior: Interactions with laboratory environment. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Individual differences in maternal style: Causes and consequences for mothers and offspring. Advances in the Study of Behavior. Identical twins reared apart: F, Ballestar E, Paz M. Epigenetic differences arise during the lifetime of monozygotic twins.

D, Diorio J, Plotsky P. Environmental enrichment reverses the effects of maternal separation on stress reactivity.

Epigenetic sources of behavioral differences in mice.

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Nature vs. Nurture Debate There is an issue that has been conferred upon by philosophers in the past and still Nature vs Nuture Neuroscience and Gaming. Jul 22,  · BoardGameGeek» Forums» Gaming Related» General Gaming Subject: Gamer- nature or nurture? New of us avoid gaming by all in the Nature vs. Nurture debate. What's the difference between Nature and Nurture? The nature versus nurture debate is about the relative In the "nature vs nurture" debate, nature refers to an.

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