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Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 1172001 Lectures$
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F.M.L. Thompson

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262795

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262795.001.0001

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Elementary, my dear Watson, the clue is in the genes…or is it?

Elementary, my dear Watson, the clue is in the genes…or is it?

SPECIAL LECTURE

to mark the centenary of the British Psychological Society

Chapter:
(p.525) Elementary, my dear Watson, the clue is in the genes…or is it?
Source:
Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 117
Author(s):

ANNETTE KARMILOFF-SMITH

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197262795.003.0016

This chapter argues that there is no one-to-one, direct mapping between specific sets of genes and cognitive-level outcomes. Rather, there are very indirect mappings, with the regulation of gene expression more likely to contribute to very broad differences in developmental timing, neuronal type, neuronal density, firing thresholds, neurotransmitter types, etc. It presents the neuroconstructivist framework where gene/gene interaction, gene/environment interaction and, crucially, the process of ontogeny itself (pre- and postnatal development) are all considered to play a vital role in how genes are expressed and how the brain progressively sculpts itself, slowly becoming specialised over developmental time. The infant brain is not simply a miniature version of the adult brain.

Keywords:   genes, direct mapping, neuronal density, gene expression, neuroconstructivist framework, ontogeny, brain

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