Historically, the genetic-environmental question has been the subject of muchcontroversy, with psychologists putting a lot of effort into trying to decide
determines development. Today, conversely, most psychologists look upon this as adead issue and a moot point. It is now generally accepted that both hereditary andenvironmental factors enter into all behaviour and that the notion of separating themout is simply not feasible or appropriate. The genetic versus environmental influencecontroversy has traditionally come down to a clash between two world views;organisism and mechanisism, but today more complex views, such as contextualism,are generally adopted by psychologists in order to account for the complexity of theissue and the interaction of genetic influences and environmental influences.
The role of worldviews
The simplest description of the organisist argument is that development is predominantly the result of genetic and biological factors, that it is qualitative,unidirectional and irreversible. According to this view, a developmental psychologistshould view an individual as the source of their acts, with all the determinants of their development being a product of hereditary factors, i.e. their development isgenetically prewired (Kantowitz et al., 2009). The changes that happen as anindividual develops, from this standpoint, are assumed to be directed toward an end point. This approach essentially sees the individual being active in their development,and the environment as being relatively passive. This general stance was taken inessays by Scarr (1992), Lytton (1990), and Harris (1995, 1998) who claimed that theenvironment accounts for little as regards its influence on human behaviour.Agreement with this view has implications for applied psychology as it provides substantiatiation for argument that public and private resources should be3