Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Developmental Plasticity

  • Emanuela S. Gritti
  • Baptiste BarbotEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1622-1



Developmental plasticity is the process by which later life traits are shaped by the early life environment. Specifically, it refers to the process according to which a single genotype (i.e., genetic makeup of an organism) leads to distinct and lasting phenotypes (i.e., outward biological and psychological manifestations) under alterations of environmental interactions.


Developmental plasticity is a concept grounded in the broad field of biology. Its roots trace to the classic “nature versus nurture” debate introduced in the nineteenth century in scientific discourse, that is, the question of the origins of individual differences as a result of environmental versus genetic influences. Developmental plasticity emphasizes the individual’s adaptation to external changes as a result of the combined effect of both genetic and environmental...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyPace UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Child Study CenterYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Glenn Scheyd
    • 1
  1. 1.Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA