David C. Rowe

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David C. Rowe
David Christian Rowe(Psychologist).jpg
David Christian Rowe (Psychologist)
Born(1949-09-27)September 27, 1949
DiedFebruary 2, 2003(2003-02-02) (aged 53)
ResidenceUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Colorado
Known forResearch on the genetics of intelligence, personality, antisocial behavior, wellbeing
Scientific career
FieldsPsychology, behavior genetics
InstitutionsUniversity of Arizona
ThesisTemperament, School Adjustment and Peers - A Study of Self-Reported Delinquency in High School Students (1977)
Doctoral advisorRobert Plomin

David C. Rowe (27 September 1949 – 2 February 2003) was an American psychology professor known for his work studying genetic and environmental influences on adolescent onset behaviors such as delinquency and smoking.[1]

Rowe earned his A.B. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was a student at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics.

Rowe was well known for his work on the genes and the environment: how they interact, what the limits of environment and genes might be, and what mechanisms implement these effects. He also focussed on articulating the different realms of the social environment: shared in families, unique to individuals, neighbourhood or nation level social and cultural effects. His book The Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience and Behaviour[2] brought together much of this work.

This work led to several substantive findings on shared and nonshared environmental influences; seminal work on the heritability of parenting behaviors (the genetics of the environment for children); on the heritability of antisocial behavior; race differences and their causes; for testing the interaction of education, and social class with genes in the development of intelligence; and for blending behavioral and molecular genetics. He made several methodological contributions, including work on modeling of means and covariances with raw data, the utility of the DeFries–Fulker analysis, and measured genes and environmental influences. The Add Health data featured in much of his research, and he served as the main geneticist on this large and influential survey of over 90,000 adolescents across the United States.[1]

Rowe's work highlighted the often surprising immunity of mental states to social circumstances, reporting that "great fortune does not guarantee happiness; neither does great misfortune assure depression".[3] This led to his positing of biological set points as a mechanism for stability, as well as arguing for indirect genetic effects: that different genotypes would cause different people to react to the same environment in different ways, and, moreover, that individuals expose themselves to different social environments. This led to ideas about active seeking and environment construction, as well the idea that exposure to (controllable) life events may result partly from genetic predisposition. He was an advocate of Consilience: including biological individuality along with social, psychological, and cultural factors in any understanding of human behavior.

In 1994 he was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence,[4]" an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which declared the consensus of the signing scholars on issues related to intelligence research following the publication of the book The Bell Curve. Rowe's work frequently supported hereditarianism.


  1. ^ a b J. L. Rodgers, K. Jacobson and E. van den Oord. (2003). "Obituary: David Christian Rowe". Behavior Genetics, 33, 627–628.
  2. ^ D. C. Rowe. (1994). The Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience and Behaviour. Guilford Press. London
  3. ^ D. C. Rowe. (2001). "Do people make environments or do environments make people?" Ann N Y Acad Sci, 935, 62–74.]
  4. ^ Gottfredson, Linda (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Wall Street Journal, p A18.


  • Rowe DC (1995). The Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience, and Behavior. The Guilford Press, ISBN 0-89862-148-8
  • Rowe DC (2001). Biology and Crime. Roxbury Publishing Company, ISBN 1-891487-80-9

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