At the Health Journalism 2013 session on Shaping the Pediatric Brain, independent journalist David Dobbs shared insights on researching and writing his 2009 article for The Atlantic, “The Science of Success.”
The article served as a springboard for a book that Dobbs is working on about behavioral genetics, tentatively titled “The Orchid and the Dandelion.” The book title plays off a new theory of genetics based on the hypothesis that “dandelion” children appear to grow up okay regardless of their environment. That is, they’ll be fine in a garden, a greenhouse or a crack in the sidewalk.
“Orchid” children, on the other hand, thrive under good care (a greenhouse), do okay in a so-so environment (garden), and wilt in a bad environment (crack in the sidewalk). Over the past couple of years, this hypothesis has started gaining momentum among child development specialists and behavioral geneticists interested in how environment and genetics shape who we are. Continue reading