Penn State

Sonia A. Cavigelli - associate professor of biobehavioral health, College of Health and Human Development

Book Title: Individual Development and Evolution: The Genesis of Novel Behavior

Author: Gilbert Gottlieb

Book Description:

I first read this book when I was in graduate school (first edition, 1991). The book is a highly readable review of Gottlieb’s novel ideas on the development of individual behavior. Gottlieb was forward-thinking in the 1990’s; he elegantly presented the idea that behavioral development involves a complex set of interactions across multiple levels of influence — from genes to the environment — and suggested creative and unique ideas on how to study these complex processes. This complex multi-level approach to understanding the development of behavior has been an important beacon in the development of my career.

On a personal note, I interviewed to conduct Ph.D. thesis work with Gottlieb, and although I did not work in his laboratory, I still have a very fond memory of driving thirteen hours to interview in North Carolina, arriving late at night, and being offered a cold beer and a smart conversation as I walked into his home. I will always remember him as a rambunctious, creative, and sympathetic scientist. Gilbert Gottlieb died in 2006 so I appreciate the chance to commemorate this great thinker with an official note in his book.


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