Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
How Children Invented HumanityThe Role of Development in Human Evolution$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David F. Bjorklund

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190066864

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190066864.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

Changeable Children

Changeable Children

Evolved Plasticity and Development

(p.32) 2 Changeable Children
How Children Invented Humanity

David F. Bjorklund

Oxford University Press

Plasticity is an evolved feature of Homo sapiens and is greatest early in development. Plasticity permits children to adjust to diverse environments and still grow up to be productive members of their society. This can be seen from the variety of rearing environments found in cultures around the world, from the child-adoring hunter-gatherers to those that view children as drains on resources. Plasticity is not infinite, however, but declines with age. Natural selection has provided children with sensitivity to early environments and the plasticity to entrain their development in adaptive ways, as explained by life history theory. Recent advances have provided important evidence for the proximal causes of changes in behavior as a result of experience—epigenetics, how genes are expressed in different contexts. We can now begin to understand plasticity at the level of the gene, and this has implications for understanding all forms of human functioning.

Keywords:   plasticity, WEIRD societies, neontocracies, gerontocracies, life history theory, naturalistic fallacy, epigenetics, DNA methylation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .