One of Sandra Scarr’s many pioneering papers is her 1983 publication with Kathleen McCartney, which is her most highly cited paper and one of the most highly cited papers in developmental psychology. e title of the paper is “How People Make eir Own Environments: A eory of Genotype → Environment Eects”:
We propose a theory of development in which experience is directed by genotypes. Genotypic dierences are proposed to aect phenotypic dierences, both directly and through experience, via three kinds of genotype → environment eects: A passive kind, through environments provided by biologically related parents; an evocative kind, through responses elicited by individuals from others; and an active kind through the selection of dierent environments by dierent people. (Scarr & McCartney, 1983, p. 424)
ese are big ideas that have shied the way in which we think about the environment. e most fundamental point is that what might seem to be an environmental eect can be mediated by genetic factors. It suggests a model of experience that goes beyond a passive view of the environment in which the environment is what happens to people to an active view of the environment in which people select, modify, construct, and reconstruct in memory their experiences in part on the basis of genetic
propensities. From a molecular genetic perspective this means that we ought to be able to nd genes associated with environmental measures. e purpose of this chapter is to describe these ideas in greater detail, to summarize research following Scarr and McCartney’s 1983 paper, and to consider future directions for research on genotype → environment eects.