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Limits of Family Influence : Genes, Experience And Behavior - David C. Rowe

Limits of Family Influence

Genes, Experience And Behavior

Paperback

Published: 2nd August 1995
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Most parents believe that their child's personality and intellectual development is 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.

"The past 15 years have been especially exciting for researchers interested in the human family. It has, for example, been a time of enormous change, especially, although not exclusively, in industrialized societies. It has also been a time of considerable theoretical ferment. A pivotal point in the agitation shaking the foundation of family research, in fields as diverse as anthropology, economics, history, psychology and sociology, is the role of biology in understanding family structure and process, including the cognitive, emotional, and social development of children. Old assumptions are having to be cast aside and new research questions are being asked. David Rowe's own research and that of others discussed in The Limits of Family Influence should be required reading for all family and developmental researchers." --Robert L. Burgess, Ph.D., Professor of Human Development, Depart of Human Development and Family Studies, Pen State University "Rowe has exposed the flimsy foundation that underlies our current (mis)understanding of family socialization processes. No matter where you stand on the nature-nurture controversy, you owe it to yourself to grapple with the provocative thesis that is the title of this book. The Limits of Family Influence will revolutionize thinking about how families function--should be required reading for all who seek to understand the psychological development of children." --Matt McGue, Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota "David Rowe, in The Limits of Family Influence, argues that 'Socialization Science' (in which he would include a good deal of the activity of sociologists, criminologists, social anthropologists, child developmentalists, and the like) has got itself into serious hot water by attributing to family influence effects that are in fact mostly due to the genes. Not all sociologists, criminologists, etc., will want immediately to shut up shop, but it surely behooves them to find out what it is that Rowe is saying, and on what evidence he is saying it. This energetic and readable book should provide a good place to start towards a fundamental reevaluation of some of the most cherished dogmas of the social sciences." --John C. Loehlin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin "David Rowe challenges one of the most deeply held assumptions of our culture--that family rearing differences in the normal range affect the development of personality, psychopathology, and intelligence. He argues from behavioral genetic research, much of which Rowe himself pioneered, that nature (genetics) largely prevails over nurture (family rearing). His message is that the emperor of environmentalism has no clothes. Rowe reviews the weak case for rearing effects in the socialization literature, and contrasts it with genetic research on personality, psychopathology, and intelligence. He shows that genetic influences are important. And so is the environment. But the environment works, not on an family-by-family basis, but rather on an individual-by-individual basis. The book is provocative in the best sense of the word. Anyone interested in in children's development must come to grips with Rowe's clarion call about the nature of nurture." --Robert Plomin, Ph.D., Director, Center for Developmental and Health Genetics, Pennsylvania State University "Do socialization practices influence individual differences? David Rowe argues that they do not. In this provocative and accessible book, he presents the argument in favor of a view, widely shared among contemporary behavior geneticists, that environmental influences shared by individuals reared in the same family have a vanishingly small effect on individual differences in such psychological characteristics as intelligence, personality, and psychopathology. Those who disagree, and I suspect there will be many, should read the book if only to discover why behavior geneticists fail to believe in what Rowe calls 'the myth of family influence.'" --Nathan Brody, Professor of Psychology, Wesleyan University "Rarely does a scholar come along to shake the very foundation of a large scientific enterprise -- in this case, the multi-million dollar research establishment that studies the alleged effects of family environments on children's development. Research on the ubiquitous correlations between home environments and children's outcomes has simply assumed that differences among homes caused differences among the children, and assumed that the home differences were purely environmental. Rowe challenges both assumptions. He shows that differences among homes are better understood as genetic differences among parents and that differences among children's personalities and intellects are better explained as genetic differences transmitted by parents. The theory and research in this given book will be hard for many psychologists to swallow, given their exclusive diet of naive environmentalism. But, I assure them, it will be good for their intellectual health, and may even help them to produce more nutritious research fare in the future." --Sandra Scarr, Ph.D., Commonwealth Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia, Department of Psychology "David Rowe's The Limits of Family Influence masterfully combines technical expertise with thought-provoking analysis in a text readable -- and liked -- by both undergraduate and graduate students. [It] captures the student's interest with a provocative style, from the first paragraph's indictment of socialization science' to the last chapter's observation that books about genetics and social science usually close with some kind of sugarcoating...' In between, he keeps the student's interest through path analysis and model fitting. An excellent overview of modern behavior genetics." --Glayde Whitney, Ph.D., Psychology Dept, Florida State University "Rowe gives a masterly presentation....What he has to say should be known by every psychologist, sociologist, criminologist, educationalist, marriage guidance experts, and even politicians....A wonderful university course could be based on it..." --H.J. Eysenck, Ph.D. in Personality and Individual Differences April 1996 "Masterful.... Rowe's book is a fine piece of integrative scholarship that is accessible for advanced undergraduates and should be required reading for all who desire an up-to-date understanding of some of the most potent casual variables in developmental, social, and personality psychology. One should not even join a cocktail party conversation about The Bell Curve without thorough familiarity with Rowe's thesis concerning the limits of nurture to affect each individual human's nature." --Michael R. Cunningham "Rowe's book presents a valuable summary of the evidence suggesting that between-family environmental influences are not major sources of influence on many individual-difference characteristics, It is time to look elsewhere....'Socialization science' considers environmental influences using genetically uniformed designs. I am inclined to agree with David Rowe--socialization science is a scientifically flawed enterprise." --Nathan Brody in Psychological Inquiry "The crucial point presented in The Limits of Family Influence is that the specific type of environmental influence is not shared by children being reared in the same family but rather is unique to each child. It is here that Rowe's explication of the logic and findings of behavioral genetic studies provides the strong argument for the limits of shared rearing environment....Overall, Rowe's message about the limited impact of shared rearing experiences is welcome...." --Richard Rende in Psychological Inquiry "Be that as it may, I cannot seriously recommend this book for any reason."--"Marriage & Family Review" ""The Limits of Family Influence" is a thorough and provocative critique of the vast majority of research that seeks to 'understand how children acquire traits from their families and cultures' (p.1). By arguing that most studies of family influence on behaviors and outcomes are fundamentally flawed, this book is sure to challenge the research orientations and convictions of a large and diverse group of social scientist. I would strongly encourage sociologists who study the family to give serious consideration to Rowe's contention that family socialization experiences have few direct effects on important individual outcomes relative to hereditary and nonfamily environmental factors." --"Contemporary Sociology" ., .."Exciting and provocative....Rowe has compiled a wide range of behavior genetic studies into an argument that childrearing has little effect on children's individual differences in intelligence, personality, and psychopathology. The argument is persuasive, and will present a serious challenge to those who assume the primacy of the family in children's development....The book is well written, with many useful and sometimes piquant anecdotes and illustrations woven in and out of the data and the argument. Although the argument is a challenging one, the tone is affable....The contents of the book will make many people outraged--all to the good....An excellent selection for a graduate level or upper-level undergraduate course on the family, included alongside family texts that present the assumptions more typical of the field. Even for readers well versed inbehavior genetics, this book will provide a handy reference and be an enjoyable read." --"Family Relations" "A thorough and provocative critique of the vast majority of research that seeks to 'understand how children acquire traits from their families and cultures.' By arguing that most studies of family influence on behaviors and outcomes are fundamentally flawed, this book is sure to challenge the research orientations and convictions of a large and diverse group of social scientists. I would strongly encourage sociologists who study the family to give serious consideration to Rowe's contention that family socialization experiences have few direct effects on important individual outcomes relative to hereditary and nonfamilial environmental factors." --"Contemporary Sociology" ., .."challenges many long-held assumptions about socialization....Rowe begins his assault on the bulk of social science research by identifying weaknesses in the psychological theories that undergirded many research efforts--namely, Freudianism, early behaviorism, and social learning theory. He then carefully sets out the behavior genetics research paradigm. The chapter, 'Separating Nature and Nurture, ' is probably as lucid a treatment of this paradigm as can be found anywhere....does an excellent job of explicating the behavior geneticist's position on environmental influences...." --"Journal of Marriage and the Family "

The Primacy of Child Rearing in Socialization Theory
Separating Nature and Nurture
As the Twig is Bent?: Families and Personality
Limited Rearing Effects on Intelligence (IQ)
Uniting Nature and Nurture: The Genetics of Environmental Measures
Gender Differences
Why Families Have Little Influence
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780898621488
ISBN-10: 0898621488
Series: Genes, Experience and Behavior
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 232
Published: 2nd August 1995
Publisher: Guilford Publications
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.38