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Heredity, Family, and InequalityA Critique of Social Sciences$
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Michael Beenstock

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016926

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016926.001.0001

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Theory: What Explains the Intergenerational and Sibling Correlations?

Theory: What Explains the Intergenerational and Sibling Correlations?

(p.82) (p.83) 3 Theory: What Explains the Intergenerational and Sibling Correlations?
Heredity, Family, and Inequality

Michael Beenstock

The MIT Press

This chapter examines various theories that explain why the outcomes of parents and children, as well as the outcomes of siblings, are correlated. It first discusses the main ideas behind behavioral genetics, including the decomposition of the variance of outcomes (phenotype variance) into the contribution of heredity (genotype variance), the contribution of shared and unshared environments, and the interaction between genes and environment. It then looks at two methodological approaches used in behavioral genetics: comparison between the outcomes of identical and fraternal twins and comparison between the outcomes of biological and adopted children. It also considers the argument that the difference between the sibling correlation for biological children and adopted children implies a role for heredity and parenting. Moreover, the chapter argues that psychology in general and developmental psychology in particular are inherently non-axiomatic, making hypothesis testing in developmental psychology extremely difficult (or easy).

Keywords:   outcomes, parents, children, siblings, behavioral genetics, heredity, genes, environment, parenting, developmental psychology

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