"Heredity is that biological law by which all beings endowed with life tend to repeat themselves in their descendants: it is for the species what personal identity is for the individual. By it a groundwork remains unchanged amid incessant variation; by it Nature ever copies and imitates herself. Ideally considered, heredity would simply be the reproduction of like by like. But this conception is purely theoretical, for the phenomena of life do not lend themselves to such mathematical precision: the conditions of their occurrence grow more and more complex in proportion as we ascend from the vegetable world to the higher animals, and thence to man. Man may be regarded either in his organism or in his dynamism: in the functions which constitute his physical life, or in the operations which constitute his mental life. Are both of these forms of life subject to the law of heredity? are they subject to it wholly, or only in part? and, in the latter case, to what extent are they so subject? The physiological side of this question has been diligently studied, but not so its psychological side. We propose to supply this deficiency in the present work"--Introduction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved).
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