To the Editor.—I read with interest Dr. Robert Cooke's article in the Journal (112: 273, 1966). I am writing this letter, however, because I find some of Dr. Cooke's interpretations of Gesell's work not fully substantiated in the literature.
Dr. Cooke states that Gesell believed behavior unfolded in an immutable manner, uninfluenced by experience and determined entirely by the innate potential of the individual. Gesell and Amatruda wrote in their book1 a chapter describing some of the effects of the influence of environment and experience on behavior development. To quote from this chapter: "Throughout this volume we have recognized the close relationship of hereditary and environmental factors in the development of behavior. Indeed the dynamics of development consist of an interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic determiners... the products of present growth influence later growth... For this reason the resultant patterns and limits of growth are never completely predetermined...
BALDWIN JV. ANTICIPATORY PEDIATRICS. Am J Dis Child. 1967;114(2):212–213. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1967.02090230142021
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