The Nature Nurture debate within psychology discusses the extent in which heredity (genetic) and the environment separately affect and influence the individual. Some psychologists argue that nature (heredity) is the most significant and influential on an individual. “Heredity is the passing on of physical or mental characteristics genetically from one generation to another.” Nature argues that people are born with set characteristics that develop; changing over time and that the affect that the environment has on the individual’s behaviour is insignificant. Nurture looks at individuals learning through experiencing and applying themselves, which can be altered by changing the environment. “Environment is the surroundings in which a person lives or operates”. Nurture also claims that given the right environment any person can achieve any life goal and or ambition within their own physical limit capability. As a young child / infant, psychological attributes and differing behaviour occurs as an outcome of learning.
It is known that there are certain physical characteristics that are determined by genetics. Things such as colour of hair and eyes and disease etc. are all part of the genes we inherit. Genes heavily influence other physical characteristics such as height, life expectancy, weight, etc. but nurture (environment) also has a significant impact on these physical characteristics. This has led to the speculation as to whether characteristics such as behaviour, personality and mental ability are set before we are born, or can still be changed as we are growing up.
Unlike many other areas of psychology one is unable to use measures to control and understand the key traits of personality in a person. There is also no way to be able to differentiate, which changes are due to changes in the personality states or which are due to changes in the environment. It becomes difficult when trying to determine the effects of nature or nurture on any individual...
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