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n. pseudonym of a family in New York, seven generations of which were studied by U.S. social scientist Richard Lewis Dugdale (1841–1883), with findings reported in 1877. He claimed that the study showed relationships between prostitution and illegitimacy, resulting in neglected offspring, and between exhaustion and alcohol consumption, resulting in criminality and inability to make sound judgments. This study, which drew from and contributed to social Darwinism, stimulated many further studies throughout the early 20th century. These later studies erroneously claimed to identify linkages between immorality and intellectual deficits and ignored conclusions by Dugdale that environmental factors were significant.

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Psychology term of the day

June 18th 2024

set zone

set zone

the range of values for a variable that a feedback system is to maintain. See also critical range.