The Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience, and Behavior

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Guilford Press, 1994 - Psychology - 232 pages
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Most parents believe that their child's personality and intellectual development are a direct result of their child-rearing practices and home environment. This belief is supported by many social scientists who contend that the influences of "nature" and "nurture" are inseparable. Challenging such universally accepted assumptions, The Limits of Family Influence argues that socialization science has placed too heavy an emphasis on the family as the bearer of culture. Similarly, it reveals how the environmental variables most often named in socialization science - such as social class, parental warmth, and one- versus two-parent households - may also be empty of causal influence on child outcomes such as intelligence, personality, and psychopathology. In clear, accessible language, David C. Rowe critiques these basic assumptions and demonstrates how our reliance on them prevents us from fully comprehending personality development and the influence of different experiences. Structured to give evidence for this conclusion and to explore its many implications, the book first examines the theoretical basis of socialization science and then describes in great detail what behavior genetic studies can teach us about environmental influence. The volume opens with an overview of the weaknesses of socialization science, and immediately presents a blueprint for interpreting behavior genetic studies. Demonstrating the minimal effects of the family environment on personality, psychopathology, and human intelligence, the author persuasively argues that the measures we label as environmental, including social class, may actually hide genetic variation. He covers the lack of rearing influence onbehavioral sex differences and finally, moving beyond empirical evidence to speculation, he considers why variation in family environment has so little effect on personality development. Taking a bold step toward a fuller understanding of child development, this text will be valuable for
 

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Family influence

Contents

The Primacy of Child Rearing in Socialization Theory
7
Parental Treatment Effects in Socialization Theories
8
Family Primacy?
13
Limitations of Socialization Studies
19
Where Does Environmental Influence Start and Stop?
22
Note
26
References
27
Separating Nature and Nature
29
A Model of Intelligence
123
Notes
127
References
128
Uniting Nature and Nature The Genetics of Environmental Measures
132
The Genetics of Social Class
133
The Genetics of ChildRearing Styles
148
The Genetics of Other Environmental Variables
153
Finding the Thresholds
161

Environmental Components of Variation
32
Genetic Variability
34
Research Designs for Separating Nature and Nurture
37
Environments and Behavior
52
Notes
54
References
55
As the Twig Is Bent? Families and Personality
57
Behavior Genetic Studies of Personality Traits
62
Behavior Genetic Studies of Psychopathology
74
Behavior Genetic Studies of Social Attitudes
83
Behavior Genetic Research on Religious Affiliation
89
Niche Picking
90
Notes
93
Limited Rearing Effects on Intelligence IQ
97
Explanations for Intellectual Growth
101
Behavior Genetic Studies of Rearing Environments and IQ
105
Studies of IQ Speed and Capacity
114
Preliminary Research on Physiology and IQ
119
Possibilities for Future Research
122
References
164
Gender Differences
168
Studies of SexLinked Personality Traits
169
Studies of Differential Treatments
171
The Biological Basis of Sex Differences
174
The Evolutionary Perspective
179
Gender Dimorphisms and Individual Differences
185
Biological Sex Differences and Cultural Transmission
188
Notes
190
Why Families Have Little Influence
193
The Generality of Learning
194
Examining Models of Cultural Transmission
203
Forces Maintaining Genetic Variability
209
The Need for Theories of Coevolution
218
Social and Policy Implications
222
Notes
224
References
226
Index
229
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About the author (1994)

David C. Rowe is Professor of Family Studies at the University of Arizona. He received his A.B. degree from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Colorado. Prior to his present position, he taught at Oberlin College and the University of Oklahoma. He lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife and son.

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