Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Harris, Judith Rich: Why Parents Do Not Matter
Michael P. Brown
Francis Galton is credited for having initiated the nature versus nurture debate more than one century ago. In short, the controversy consists of whether who we are and what we become are determined by what we inherit from our parents or by what we learn from social experiences. While Galton believed strongly that inherited intelligence explained why some people became prominent government officials, business leaders, and scientists, the debate over whether nature or nurture is paramount to success continues to this day. The nature versus nurture debate has expanded far beyond issues related to why some people rise to social prominence and has challenged our understanding of adolescent behavior. Prior to the 20th century, children were seen as resilient and it was commonly believed that there was not much parents could do to shape how their children turned out. It was fate that determined success or failure in adulthood. But ...