December 22, 2011
Introduction to Psychology
Nature vs. Nurture Controversy
The Nature vs. Nurture controversy was begun by British researcher Sir Francis Galton, who invented the term “Nature vs. Nurture” (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2005). He began the debate about whether intelligence happens because of our environment, or because of the genes we are given at birth (Wood, et al., 2005). There is much debate in the scientific community about which is more likely among humans and their development. Joseph E. LeDoux (1998), writes that “in spite of a growing emphasis on genetic factors in shaping who we are, the pendulum that swings between the extreme positions in the nature vs. nurture debate still has plenty of momentum”(pg. B7).
It can be said that genes make important contributions to a persons’ personality. In fact Ekart and Voland (2000), stated that “Learning is a biologically detailed, regulated and frequently narrowly limited process, and therefore human beings cannot be unlimitedly malleable” (pg. 197). It seems that he feels that the explanation for learning is biologically set in our genes and that we are only capable of learning a limited amount of information (Ekart & Voland, 2000). LeDoux (1998), also says that “we are born with a hefty dose of programmed synaptic links” (pg. 88). He goes on to say that these synapses are the processes that show us who we are (LeDoux, 1998). Eric Lorenzen (2001), tells us that there is substantial evidence to show us that “human behaviors have genetic links” (pg. 45).
Most of the authors discussed above have a belief for not only the idea that nature is believed to contribute to human nature and intelligence, but also the concept that there are certain behaviors and information that can only be learned or taught to another person. Voland (2000), tells us that he has seen that “society into which the children are born, with its prevailing behavioral norms,...
LeDoux, J. (1998). Nature vs. Nurture: the Pendulum Still Swings With Plenty of Momentum.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 45(16), B7-B8. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214728572?accountid=8067.
Lorenzen, E. (2001). Issues in Sociobiology. The Science Teacher, 68(6), 44-48. Retrieved from
Voland, E.(2000). Nature or Nurture? The Debate of the Century, a Category Error, and the Illuminating
Impact of Evolutionary Psychology. European Psychologist, 5(3), 196-199.doi:10.1027//1016-
Wood, S.E.,Wood, E.G., & Boyd, D. (2005). The World of Psychology. (5th ed.). New York, NY. Pearson
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