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ERIC Number: ED406066
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Apr
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Children's Understanding of Biological Inheritance: Nature, Nurture, and Essentialism.
Horobin, Karen D.
This study examining children's understanding of biological inheritance addressed four central questions: (1) are young children able to distinguish between the relative influences of nature and nurture in their understanding of how physical characteristics versus behaviors and preferences develop in animals? (2) does children's understanding of the location of prenatal growth have any impact on their expectations for parent-offspring resemblances? (3) what role is played by psychological essentialism in children's understanding of inheritance? and (4) when do children provide specifically biological explanations that are clearly differentiated from any beliefs they may have about nonbiological causes? A total of 64 kindergarten through third grade children participated, with 16 at each grade level. Individual interviews were used to assess understanding of biological inheritance in the context of illustrated stories about animal offspring born and raised under four conditions, normal biological parentage and rearing, adoptive rearing, inter-uterine transplant parentage and rearing with own species, and inter-uterine transplant parentage and rearing with transplant species. Results indicated that children thought it most likely that offspring would resemble their original species, in both physical and behavioral characteristics, under all conditions. There were also some indications that the transplant conditions were perceived by children as having biological implications for inheritance. Patterns of ratings for choices, and the children's explanations, were consistent with a psychological essentialist view of the transmission of characteristics in animal species. (Contains 14 references.) (KDFB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A