Necessary But Not Sufficient: The Respective Roles of Single and Multiple Influences of Individual Development
All too often, those who study human development have focused on the simple. The tendency to describe individual variability in terms of a single class of influences is exemplified by the infamous "nature versus nurture" controversy.
In this provocative book, Wachs challenges fellow developmentalists and researchers to reconsider simple approaches, arguing that they are unproductive and poor predictors of outcome. Instead, he proposes a view of development in which variability is thought of as the action of linked influences over time, from domains as diverse as evolution, genetics, neurology, nutrition, and the child's immediate and wider environment.
The book musters an impressive array of evidence from a variety of disciplines to demonstrate that, while influences from a particular domain may be necessary to cause a particular outcome, they are rarely sufficient, in and of themselves. Countering the arguments of those who protest that it is neither realistic nor cost-effective to design research based on multiple influences, Wachs argues that this can and must be done, and suggests ways of doing so.