Reflections on what timescale?

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (4):698-699 (2001)


Recent developments in both evolutionary theory and in our ideas about development suggest that genetic assimilation of environmental regularities may occur on shorter timescales than those considered by Shepard. The nervous system is more plastic and for longer periods than previously thought. Hence, the internal basis of cognitive-perceptual skills is likely to blend ontogenetic and phylogenetic learning. This blend is made more rich and interactive by the special cultural scaffolding that surrounds human development. This being so, the regularities of the environment which have been genetically assimilated during the emergence of modern human beings may themselves be the products of human action. [Shepard].

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