Is Mental Health Determined by Nature or Nurture

Topics: Nature versus nurture, Classical conditioning, The Nurture Assumption Pages: 6 (2073 words) Published: October 11, 2012
Is Our Mental Health Determined By Nature or Nurture
Nature vs. nurture is an age old argument, hereditary or environment. The argument basically debates if genetic makeup or environment predetermines certain things about the human development. In my paper I am going to discuss the argument of nature as well as the argument of nurture and how it affects the mental health of a child. I am also going discuss the argument that both nature and nurture determines our mental health. I am going to first discuss the argument for nature. Many believe our fates predetermined. The psychology dictionary describes the nature theory as “humans being born with certain traits and the will be manifested regardless of environment.” While discussing the nature theory, I will go into views of famous scientist psychologist such as Arnold Gesell, Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess, and Thomas Bouchard as well as the views of famous thinkers such as Plato and Socrates. I will first discuss the studies of Thomas Bouchard. Thomas Bouchard is for the argument of nature. Bouchard often studied adoptions and twins, by doing this Bouchard he says our outcome is determined by genes. In a from the Smithsonian titled “The Jim Twins” it describes a study how a set of twins were separated at 3 weeks of age by adoption and then was reunited at the age of 39. In the article it states that growing up, both of the boys were names Jim by their adoptive parents, one named Jim Lewis and one named Jim Springer. Both of the boys had an interest in math and carpentry and children. As they grew up, one was a security guard and the other was a sheriff. They both married women name Linda, and then divorced and then they both remarried women named Betty. It goes so far as when they both had baby boys, one named the child James Alan Lewis, and the other one named the child James Allan Lewis. The article then goes on to say that Bouchard flew the twins to Minnesota very soon after the meeting because he wanted to do some testing before the twins had too much time together, Bouchard looked at that as the evidence being contaminated. Bouchard noticed many similarities in these twins who had no contact with each other for thirty nine years. The twins stated they both felt a sense if emptiness. Bouchard stated that the differences these twins did have come from being raised in different places. Dr. Bouchard states in one of the personality test, the twins test were so similar that it was compared to a person taking the same test twice. This goes to support Dr. Bouchard’s view of nature. I am next going to write about Arnold Gesell. Arnold Gesell also argues the point of nature. Gesell is a responsible for the “Growth and Development Theory”. Gesell studied children form the preschool until the age of sixteen. Gesell focused his studies on children at natural play without disturbing them. He studied things such as motor skills, expression, interpersonal relations, play, ethical sense and pastimes. Gesell believes or fates or predetermined so he believes parents should raise children with reasonable guidance, not to strictly and not too freely. Children should be allowed to make mistakes to grow from them. In the 1940’s and the 1950’s Gesell was looked at as an authority in the rearing and development of children, but his work was criticized because his study group was small and bias, It consist of a small group of middle class white children. I am next going to write about Alexander Thomas and his wife Stella Chess. Thomas and Chess started the New York Longitudinal Study of Child Temperament, along with Herbert Birch. This study is classic study which studies personalities and temperament traits in young children. This is still an ongoing study. The reason they started this study is because in their own practice, they were seeing good parents with extra temperamental children, as well as children who have terrible parents but are resourceful enough to come out of that...
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