Nature vs. Nurture

Topics: Nature versus nurture, Tabula rasa, Human nature Pages: 3 (1117 words) Published: February 19, 2013
The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest issues in sociology (Davidson, 1991, n.p.). The debate centers on the relative contributions of genetics and environmental factors to human behavior (Davidson, 1991, n.p.). Today, the majority of experts believe that behavior and development are influenced by both nature and nurture (Macionis, 2009, p. 73). The biggest question now is which one affects human development more: nature or nurture? According to Macionis (2009, p. 72), in the past, it was always common knowledge that human “behavior was instinctive, simply our nature.” Some scientists thought that people behaved as they did according to genetic tendencies or even animal instincts (Macionis, 2009, p. 72). This is known as the nature theory of human behavior (Macionis, 2009, p. 73). Charles Darwin and many other sociologists believed that humans were given certain instincts at birth that determined their personality and behavior (Macionis, 2009, p. 72). Such thinking would explain why certain types of people acted a certain way. This idea of nature over nurture was the primary belief of sociologists until the twentieth century when a man named John B. Watson developed the term of behaviorism (Macionis, 2009, p. 73). This theory basically indicated that “behavior [was] not instinctive but learned” which meant that humans were born equal (Macionis, 2009, p. 73). This term changed the study of human behavior entirely. Other scientists believed that people thought and behaved in certain ways because they were taught to do so (Macionis, 2009, p. 73). This is known as the nurture theory of human behavior (Macionis, 2009, p. 73). Human behavior was no longer rooted from nature but in nurture. According to Macionis (2009, p. 73), as human beings, it is one’s nature to nurture. In Keay Davidson’s “Nature vs. Nurture,” he expresses his belief that recent studies of human behavior were determined more by politics than research (Davidson, 1991, n.p.). He...

References: Macionis, J. J. (2009). Socialization: From Infancy to Old Age. Society: the basics (International ed., 10th ed., pp. 72-73). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Davidson, K. (1991, January 20). Nature Vs. Nurture. SIRS Issues Researcher. Retrieved September 13, 2012, from
Trefil, J. (1996, January 1). How Much of Human Behavior Depends on Genes? Or Nature vs. Nurture, Tabula Rasa vs. Original Sin, Predestination vs. Free Will . SIRS Issues Researcher. Retrieved September 13, 2012, from
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