The Origins of Human Potential: Evolution, Development, and Psychology

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Psychology Press, 1998 - Psychology - 217 pages
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Few scientific debates have been more protracted and intense than whether we are born with our cognitive ability, whether our environment moulds it or whether these two things interact to produce it. The Origins of Human Potential offers a new insight into the arguments by showing that many of the assumptions on both sides, are false.
Ken Richardson re-examines evidence about the nature of genes in development, the environment and the development of cognitive ability and the nature of cognitive ability itself. Can it really be measured in an IQ test, like height or weight?
Ken Richardson's human-centred view describes the evolutionary context of our dynamic, changeable environments and the creative individual at the heart of the debate. It will be of great relevance to psychologists and education policy makers and should be read by all those with an interest in our children's future.
 

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Contents

Gene gods
1
Nativism in modern psychology
5
A view of the gene
13
The code in the gene
14
Mendelian versus polygenic characters
16
Genetic variability
18
Natural selection and adaptation
20
Evolutionary underpinning of nativist psychology
23
The intelligence which Binet tested
105
The growth of IQ in America
107
The growth of IQ in Britain
108
Termans revisions of the Binet scales
109
The Wechsler scales
110
Group tests
111
The proliferation of assumptions
113
Justification of assumptions
115

The twolayer theory
24
Summary of assumptions
28
Explaining cognition away
29
Theoretical backwardness
33
Constraints on intervention
34
Nativism superstition and ideology
35
Gene partners
41
Genes and environmental change
43
Genomic regulations
46
Lessons from a fly
47
A new view of the gene
52
Implications for the rhetoric of genetic determinism
57
A note on canalisation
59
Dynamic systems theory
60
Developmental systems
66
Complex environments
67
Developmental plasticity
68
A higher level of regulation
71
Developmental plasticity as a lifelong process
73
Human sociocognitive regulations
82
The evolution of human social regulations
83
Cultural tools
88
A systems summary
92
IQ and the elusive cognitive power
100
The origins of IQ testing
101
Binets test
103
So what is being measured?
119
Summary of assumptions
127
Genetic inequality how do we know?
134
How do we know?
136
The twin method
138
reared apart twins?
140
Comparison of MZ and DZ twins
145
the equal environments assumption EEA
146
The adopted child method
150
Alternative interpretations of naturenurture data
154
Summary of methodological assumptions
157
Theoretical assumptions
158
The meaning and utility of heritability estimates
168
IQ race and genetics
170
Discovery of a gene for IQ
172
The genie imperative
175
Ethics and common sense
177
Potential in the cognitionculture complex
184
Potential lost
185
Potential found
192
The consequences of splitting the cognitionculture complex
198
Reuniting the cognitionculture complex
201
Conclusion
204
Name index
210
Subject index
215
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About the author (1998)

Ken Richardson is a zoologist and veterinarian who has spent most of his academic career at Murdoch University. He has had over 30 years of field experience working on most major groups of vertebrates, including a 20-year ecological study of the honey possum in southern Western Australia. He has published many scientific papers on the anatomy, physiology, anaesthesia and diseases of several species of kangaroos as well as a book on the biology of crocodiles. He is also an inaugural member of the Animals in the Wild Working Group of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy.

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