After forty years doing research on nature and nurture in psychology, there are two crucial (not just nagging) things I want to understand. One is about nature and one is about nurture.
About nature: Behavioural genetic research has shown that genetics is important throughout psychology. I want to find these genes in order to use them to explore the nature-nurture interface in psychology. During the past decade methods have become available that can identify specific genes but it has proven extremely difficult to find these genes; the most likely reason is that many genes are involved and each gene has a very small effect.
About nurture: Behavioural genetic research has shown that environmental influences in psychology generally make children growing up in the same family different, called non-shared environment. I want to know why children growing up in the same family are so different but this has also proven difficult.
Robert Plomin is MRC Research Professor in Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, where he is deputy director of the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre. In 2002, he was listed among the twentieth century’s most influential psychologists by the Review of General Psychology.
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