Developmental psychology/Lectures/Introduction, Conception, and Birth
Conception[edit | edit source]
Before cells can divide, genes come together into 23 couples - chromosome pairs. The DNA sequences comprising genes always go to the same location of a particular chromosome, which for convenience are numbered from biggest (1 - most genetic material) to two smallest (22) plus the sex chromosomes (XX female, XY male). Eggs (ova) from Mom and sperm from Dad are special cells that contain a single set of 23 chromosomes. Conception completes the chromosome set and cell replication and differentiation begins: chromosome pairs separate and move to opposite sides of the nucleus, the nucleus (and cell) divides, individual chromsomes replicate into a pair and the process reiterates.
There are three things that determine how an individual develops, nature or the genome, environment or experiences, and individual choice or self. The more we understand about the genome, the clearer it becomes that while genetic information, significantly influences both development and behavior, it fully determines neither. If the genome was all determining than identical twins would develop and act the exact same. In human development and behavior genetics and the environment instead productively interact with one another, both contributing unique and valuable information to the emergence of distinctive individuals. The environment also has an affect on development and environment and nature combined are not the only determinates in how an individual will develop. Self is real, important, and able to influence an individuals fate.
What the genome provides is a personalized distillate of the collective experiences of one's ancestors and an important contributor to one's individuality. It is information to be reflected on, savored, and valued, rather than to be feared. The "innate" is real, important, and doesn't define how a person will develop. People often feel that they know things idependently of any experience they have ever had. This is not only absolutely true, but completely understandable' it does not require a belief in the supernatural. All organisms are born with a vast amount of information from generations of their ancestors' experiences with the world. It is information to be reflected on, savored, and valued, rather than to be feared. Nor are genetics at war with "free will", any more than is the environment.