CHILD DEVELOPMENT - 14 Pages (APA Formats with References)

CHILD DEVELOPMENT - 14 Pages (APA Formats with References)...

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Describe the processes by which genes and environment operate together to influence development. Discuss the significance of these processes for our understanding of child development. This essay will look firstly at the ideas that have prevailed throughout history, in relation to genes interacting with the environment, and the human developmental implications of this relationship. It will briefly outline the theory of Heritability, Evolution, Genetic Determination, Epigenesis, Developmental Plasticity and a transactional' model of development. Secondly the theories of Genetic determination, Epigenesis and Developmental Plasticity will be compared. Physical and psychological characteristics of child development will illuminate the differing viewpoints held by these traditions. Anatomical development, temperament and language will be used as illustrators. Since the sixteen hundreds scholars interested in the origins of human formation; believed that humans had not changed since the creation of Adam. In essence what was needed to create a human was there at the point of conception, it just got bigger [Hartsoeker, 1694 cited in Richardson, 1994 p51]. That all humans go through an unfolding' process during development, which is all part of a natural plan' this was referred to as Preformationism'. These innate' processes or stages' were referred to as maturation' and this has developed from the philosophical position of Rationalism'. This position remained until the eighteen hundreds when biological developments challenged this position. Gregory Mendal, [1865] showed that a plant's single characteristic such as colour could be inherited' or altered though cross-hybridisation. That plants possessed individual traits genes' that could be altered and passed on to descendents. It wasn't until DeVrise, Corrnens and
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Tschermak work in the twentieth centaury [cited in Sturtevant, 1965 and Weinsten, 1977] showed that single gene inheritance etc was responsible for evolutionary characteristics in humans, an example of single gene effects can be shown in the case of PKU [Phenylketonuria] which left untreated (not stopping Children with the mutated gene eating phenylalanine in their diet) would cause retarded intellectual development. [Plomin, DeFries, and McClern, 1990, cited in Richards, 1994 p214]. It appears that Mendel's accomplishments on the laws of inheritance' were surpassed by the attention that was being given to the questions concerning the mechanism of evolution. [Bateson, 1909, Dunn, 1965]. By 1859 the Genetic and Epigenetic Paradigms had been proposed. Darwin's ideas being assimilated into popular culture while Lamarck's work languished in obscurity. Darwin's theory of Evolution proposed natural selection' and adaptation', that an organism could only change as a result of mutation', a change in the genotype' and that mutation had to infer' an advantage in the environment (phenotype) to be selected and therefore passed on. This process according to Darwin occurred below the level of consciousness [Darwin, 1859]. The organism is in essence
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