Orchids and Dandelions (Orchidée- och maskros-barn): How We Differ in Our Susceptibility to the Environment
Some children and adults exposed to adversities suffer long-term negative consequences, whereas others develop relatively unscathed. Do individuals who are especially sensitive to environmental risk also benefit most from supportive environments? And what makes these "orchids" more susceptible, whereas “dandelion” children seem to be unaffected?
Differential Susceptibility Theory paved the way for a radically new approach to the interplay between nature and nurture and its effect on human development. Correlational and experimental research, some of it carried it out in our lab, has provided support for the theory and identified specific markers of differential susceptibility. Thorny questions on mechanisms and ethical implications have still to be addressed.