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Beyond VersusThe Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture$
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James Tabery

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027373

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027373.001.0001

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The Origin(s) of Interaction: Interaction in the Eugenics Controversy

The Origin(s) of Interaction: Interaction in the Eugenics Controversy

(p.15) 2 The Origin(s) of Interaction: Interaction in the Eugenics Controversy
Beyond Versus

James Tabery

The MIT Press

The origin of research on the interaction of nature and nurture is really a story of origins. For, in the 1920s and 1930s, two British biologists separately considered how nature and nurture might interact to bring about the development of human traits and differences in those traits. R. A. Fisher introduced what came to be the “biometric concept of interaction”, while Lancelot Hogben introduced what came to be the “developmental concept of interaction”. Most importantly, Fisher came to think of interaction as a nuisance and rare in nature, while Hogben thought of interaction as common in nature and vitally important to biological explanation. Fisher and Hogben, vehemently arguing during the height of the eugenics controversy, laid the framework for all future debates about the interaction of nature and nurture.

Keywords:   Biometric Concept of Interaction, Developmental Concept of Interaction, Explanation, Eugenics, Ronald Aylmer Fisher, Gene-Environment Interaction, Lancelot Hogben, Trait Development, Trait Difference

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