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A discredited theory that organisms are fully formed in miniature within the ovum (according to the ovists) or within the spermatozoon (according to the animalculists), and that development following fertilization involves mere enlargement and not differentiation or formation of new structures. See also homunculus. Compare epigenesis (1). preformationist n. One who propounds or believes in preformationism.

Subjects: Psychology.

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