Nature versus Nurture
Introduction to Psychology
October 23, 2011
Nature versus Nurture
Human development is influenced by both the individual’s inherited traits and by the level of quality that is provided through their external environments. The belief of human development being self-regulated by the unfolding of natural plans and processes; is a statement many may disagree with. The suggested things to think about mentions that psychologists lean towards the genetic factors influencing development over the nurturing side of the argument. The idea of nature versus nurture is one that has been controversial for many years. So is our development born, nature? Or is it made through how we are nurtured? Although many have said that our behavior is influenced by genetics, others believe that the environment is the biggest factor of our development. Arguably, the two seem to be directly related to one another and the impact is direct relation of the two influencing our lives to make us what we become. Some will find individuals that adamantly believe that it must be either nature or nurturing that plays a vital role in our behavioral development. On the contrary it is a product of both nature and nurturing working together to form the basis of who we are. Merriam Webster defines human nature as, “the nature of humans; especially: the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans,” (Merriam-Webster) and nurture as, “the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by an organism.” (Merriam-Webster) A person can possess qualities that are inherited; an example would be the temperament that you are born with. Many years ago, I babysat for a little girl that was only 6 weeks old and was very fussy and as she grew she always seemed to be grouchy, she is now almost nineteen years old and though she still has a certain sense of anger towards the world, through many long discussions with her family, counseling and religious upbringing, she has become a more approachable young woman. Those that are for the “nurture” proponent would say that children that grew up without one of or both parents would tend to commit criminal acts due to the lack of parental guidance. One could say, left to ourselves we will only be our worst, but it is through nurturing that we can become anything and everything. All that we learn and all of the understanding we develop is a direct product of how we are nurtured forming our individual natures. The nature versus nurture debate goes back as far as philosophers such as Plato. He believed that certain things are inborn, “Plato held that the role of “nurture”, or experience, was far smaller than common sense might suggest. According to Plato, a child begins life with knowledge already present within him — there is no such thing as learning new things, “what we call learning is really just recollection”. (Sampson)
Watson stood more on the side of nurturing,
“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years (1930). (New World Encylcopedia)
John Lock, “believed in what is known as tabula rasa, which suggests that the mind begins as a blank slate. According to this notion, everything that we are and all of our knowledge is determined by our experience.” (Cherry) Over the years many have said that I look and act just like my father, yet I did not grow up with him, so are my behavior traits naturally inherited? Through my research I would agree...
Cited: Watson. Web. 22 Oct 2011.
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