A unified theory of development: a dialectic integration of nature and nurture

Child Dev. Jan-Feb 2010;81(1):6-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01378.x.


The understanding of nature and nurture within developmental science has evolved with alternating ascendance of one or the other as primary explanations for individual differences in life course trajectories of success or failure. A dialectical perspective emphasizing the interconnectedness of individual and context is suggested to interpret the evolution of developmental science in similar terms to those necessary to explain the development of individual children. A unified theory of development is proposed to integrate personal change, context, regulation, and representational models of development.

Publication types

  • Address

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Human Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Individuation
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Personality Development*
  • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Social Environment