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A brief introduction to Epigenesis.

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A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO EPIGENESIS Jiazhen Chen A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO EPIGENESIS Epigenesis, or epigenetic principle, originally from the Greek epi (on, upon, on top of) and "genesis" (origin), is the theory that each person develops through a sequence of stages that emerge in a natural, predetermined order. The stages are sequential but they are not hierarchical. At each stage a person is confronted with a crisis or an issue that is especially important at that time of life and must be resolved (Bernstein et al, 2003). Each crisis or issue is represented by a healthy versus an unhealthy resolution. And our progress through each stage is in part determined by the healthy or unhealthy resolutions to the crises in all the previous stages. But the emergence of each new stage is irrespective of how successful or healthy the resolution of the previous stage is; rather, it emerges according to a predetermined biological blueprint. That is to say, the certain stage will emerge when an individual reaches a certain age, no matter whether the crisis of the previous stage is successfully resolved or not. ...read more.


in mistrust, shame and doubt, and guilt, etc., which may leave a person psychologically troubled and less able to cope effectively with future situations. According to Piaget's theory, cognitive development also adheres to the epigenetic principle suggested by Erik Erikson. Piaget proposed that cognitive development proceeds through a series of distinct stages that emerge in the same predetermined order in all children's thinking. Children's knowledge and mental strategies develop at different ages in different areas. For example, in the first three or four months, children achieve the maturation of sense, indicating the absence of the limit of the newborn's vision and hearing. After that, children develop the ability of mental representation, which for sure is based on the maturation of the sensory abilities. Undoubtedly, they must first see the objects to form the mental representation of the objects. Although the success of building the mental representation abilities is based on the success of maturation of senses, the emergence of the stage for developing mental representation has nothing to do with the success of maturation of senses. ...read more.


Just adding new processes to previous abilities will not create most of the new abilities needed. As in the first stage trust vs. mistrust of Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development, adding more processes to the children's learning of trust or mistrust will not necessarily result in the second stage of autonomy vs. shame and doubt in which children excise will. Furthermore, in children's cognitive development, obviously, the first stage of maturation of senses will not be developed into voluntary movement that requires the growth of child's strength. Another advantage of the epigenetic change is that if one of the stages' development is thwarted, the development of the other stages will not be affected and still emerge at the right time. If the growth is continuous and incremental, anything blocking the whole process of development may result in the stop of all the development. Nothing is more serious than that. I think that epigenetic development might be a natural selection according to Darwin's evolutionary theory. We need a quick development of a certain ability to survive. Abilities growing little by little may expose our children to risks, since they have the incentive to explore the world while their exploring abilities are not yet mature enough. ...read more.

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