Biological vs. Conditional Theories

Please respond to the following:

  • What do biological theorists contribute to the discussion of learning and development?
  • Does the evidence they present support one position more than the other concerning whether development influences learning or the other way around? Why?
  • What implications for instruction would result if learning and development turned out to be mutually interactive?

Please respond to peer post:


Developmental theories are useful towards understanding how children learn and grow, and by what means their trajectories can be supported. Most theorists agree that both biology and experience are key factors that shape developmental outcomes. Risk and protective factors are said to contribute to development and often can be modified through intervention efforts. The prevention model emphasizes a foundation of supports and services aimed to foster healthy development.

First, the past decade of research has converged on an understanding that in many or perhaps even most instances, causality with respect to disease, disorders, and maladaptive development as well as the preservation of health and maintenance of normative, adaptive development is best viewed as an interplay between genome-based biology and environmental exposures. This understanding represents a clear departure from the historical views that human morbidities are attributable to either pathogenic environments or faulty genes. Thus whereas it was once viewed as sufficient to ascertain, through genetically informed studies, the proportion of variation in an individual’s observable characteristics, or “phenotype,” attributable to genes and to environments, it is now generally accepted that the key to a deeper, richer understanding of pathogenesis and adaptive development is elucidation of how genes and environments work together.

Conclusion About the Interaction of Biology and the Environment

The capacity for learning is grounded in the development of the brain and brain circuitry. Rather than a structure built from a static “blueprint,” the brain architecture that underlies learning is developed through a continuous, dynamic, adaptive interaction between biology and environment that begins at conception and continues throughout life. This accounts for how early experiences affect gene expression and how the brain develops, and it also accounts for how the effects of environmental factors on a child’s development may vary depending on underlying individual genetic characteristics. The adaptations that occur as a result of the mutual interactions between “nature” and “nurture” mean that early experiences and early learning environments affect all domains of human development.

I think that both equally have the same amount of involvement when the development of the child’s mind happens. you need both in order for the child be who they are or will become at adulthood. I do think that both parties benefit from the development because they both present at each stage when they come into play for that child’s growth.

Blair C, Granger DA, Kivlighan KT, Mills-Koonce R, Willoughby M, Greenberg MT, Hibel LC, Fortunato CK. Maternal and child contributions to cortisol response to emotional arousal in young children from low-income, rural communities. Developmental Psychology. 2008;44(4):1095–1109.

Bloom FE, Nelson CA, Lazerson A. Brain, mind, and behavior. 3rd.New York: Worth Publishers; 2001.

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