Nature vs. nurture is considered as one of the most debatable topic in the world of psychology. Therefore, before proceeding to the essay outline, you should familiarize yourself with understanding of nature vs. nurture. So, let us just discuss nature vs. nurture deeply.
Understanding Nature vs. Nurture
Nature is all about those characteristics that are inherited from genes or from your parents. Nature contributes to the personality through genetics such as:
- Brain activation
- Nature and behaviour
Nurture is about those characteristics which develops from experiences and environment. Nurture contributes to the personality through influences such as:
- Parental relationships
- Environment and culture
Nature vs. Nurture Debate
Nature vs. Nurture is a debate about whether behaviour, personality and human culture caused by nature or nurture. In this debate nature id defined as the genetic and hormone based behaviour, while nurture is defined as the experience and environment.
History of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate
This debate is mainly about the effect of the genes on human personalities. In the 1960s, the people influence theory of behaviourism. The founder of behaviourism was John Watson. It claimed that human behaviours are acquired through conditioning. His experiment was successful in the beginning but failure at the end. Because he ignored the important genetic factors, his ideas got criticised.
Factors affecting mental health of nature
Nature is the important factor in the development of health problems. For example- depression, bipolar etc.
We cannot denied the important genetic factors.
The development of mental illness is not entirely genetic.
For e.g. In the case of identical twin, if one develops the condition than there will be 50% chance of developing the same condition in the other twin.
Factors affecting mental health of nurture
There are certain genetic factors which may create problem for particular illness.
The condition will not develop with less severity. In addition, the habits of parents, friends contribute to the development of an addiction.
Nature vs Nurture in children
The influences of nature vs nurture in children are:
In Terms of Personality
- Influence of the parents– The habits of a child and that of a parent is similar in many ways. The child usually follows his parent’s habits. They should spend quality time with their children’s. This suggests that the bonding between the parent and a child is not from the birth. But the parents interact with their children by birth. It is clear that parents must make sure that they create secure environment.
- An effect of nature-As we all know that personality development is a lifelong process. Nature use the genetic coding to help in the development and it impart some positive and the negative traits to an individual. The children develop their personality or bent towards certain behaviour which parents doesn’t indicate. In such situation, nature is at play in developing child’s personality.
In terms of Intelligence
- Nature– The individual’s ability to achieve greatness indicates the reason of being successful because of their parent’s intelligence. As a result the development in the early skills shows that child was “born smart”. In this psychologists are mainly involving in two areas. Firstly, it includes the intelligence of an individual. Secondly, other use to develop and refine the existing intelligence assessments.
- Nurture– It includes the child’s educational background and how his parents have raised him. The credit of the child’s success goes to the school system.
Applications of nature and nurture
Drug therapies treat the behavioural and psychological problems. It can also use to treat the depression.
You can adopt your environment influences, if your behaviour is liable and optimistic. For e.g. if you want to help others then you should have a positive attitude towards life.
Nature and Nurture characteristics
An individual tends to change the responses in other people. The characteristics are:
- Temperament– It is the way a young child acts and responds to different situations. They refer to the behavioural changes which do not occur due to parenting or caregiving. With a little understanding, parents can avoid frustration in their children and themselves.
- Natural Differences– Every child is different from each other. So, it’s also obvious that their adaption habits also differ. Some finish their task early as compared to others. As a parent, you must ensure that they are handling it with care and quality.
- Nurturing Success– The important points for the caregivers are
Firstly, you can’t change the temperamental traits.
Secondly, you should be prepared to deal difficult aspects of your child’s behaviour. Either you create the conflict or help them to have positive emotional and social behaviours.
Gender Differences: Nature vs. Nurture
Reaction of the people differs from boys and girls. This happens due to the expectation of masculine and feminine characteristics. Gender differences is an ongoing debate and the main reasons behind this is the social and biological differences.
The evolutionary psychology refers to the differences between the gender and sexuality because of evolution. This results in the strategies of differentiating between the men and women for success. This theory helps in obtaining the reproductive skills and the generational success of the genes passed on from the one generation to the other.
Factors of genes and gender
Genes plays an important role in differentiating the physical looks of males and females. However genes and chromosomes contains the differences that can lead to the physical features that can appear abnormal. Genes depicts the correlation between the individual’s genders.
Cognitive Social Learning Theory
In this theory the people learn from one another through observing, modelling etc. It also creates the bridge between the cognitive and behaviourist theories. People do not learn the new behaviour individually, they learn through the success or failure. Albert Bandura’s stated this theory. He explains that how the children’s learn in social environments by observing the behaviours of others. He observed that the adults are acting aggressively. They got the punishment after acting like this. He notices that children’s are not imitating the aggressive behaviour as compared to the adults.
Nature vs. Nurture case studies
Francis Galton was the first person who did this study. This study reveals that genes play important role in the development of certain personality characteristics. In this, 80% of identical twins feel closer to each other as compared to their friends.
To evaluate genetic and environmental influences you design Adoption study. This study provide some challenges related to the adoption. It has increased the privacy laws and concerns related to the biological parents. Recent changes in adoption study has occurred by combining the techniques and data of adoptees.
Nature and Nurture in psychology
The nature vs. nurture debate is oldest issue in psychology. The branches of psychology often take one approach from the other approach. Biology and environment both play an important role in the scientific world. Even today, research in psychology often tends to emphasize an individual influence over the other. The influences include the genetic factors that interact with each other.
NATURE VS. NURTURE CONTROVERSY
Nature vs. nurture controversy is an old debate among philosophers, theories of consciousness result in the creation of human personality. There are four humours of Hippocrates personalities:
They are the type of people who gets angry and lose their temper quickly. They cannot direct their anger in the right decisions. Stress reduces a person’s tolerance and makes easier for him to lose his temper. They become insecure and thinks that everyone is making fun of them.
They believe in themselves and their abilities. They visualize themselves in the best role and seek the positive attitude towards life. Confident people are unique and special in many ways. They accept the praise, compliments gracefully.
The reactions and the thoughts of moody person does not remains the same. It just depend upon their moods. They give more priority to their feelings rather than others.
They are born leader, dynamic and active; independent and self-sufficient; seek the practical solutions to problems; and move quickly to action.
Similarly, the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau theorised that people were born essentially good. Over the years, research done on this controversy and at the end everyone agrees that both nature and nurture play important role in human development.
Genes and behaviour
The genes are unable to assess the roles played by genetic factor in an individual’s behaviour. Scientists are able to develop the screening test and then diagnose the children shortly after birth. From the genetic point of view, physical traits such as color of a person’s hair haver higher heritable traits than behaviour.
MAJOR PARTS OF NATURE AND NURTURE
The parts of nature and nurture are:
GENES AND SUCCESS
People are born with talent, which results in the specialisation at an early stage. There are clear and measurable differences between people and their achievement. It is important because it relates to success and achievement.
We are not born pretty, not psychologically or intellectually. With the help of right guidance and luck you can improve skills.
Children’s belong to the middle class and wealthy homes, or having good genes is important in determining the future success. Genes plays an important role in the future success of each child.
They think themselves superior from others. Psychopathy may include the early life factors, genetics and the signs of psychopath. They are good at manipulating others. They do not show any emotions or sympathy for others.
Causes of psychopathy:
- -Abuse by the parents
- -lack of parents involvement or separation from a parent
- -Child physical abuse
The terms sociopath refers to someone who learns the immoral behaviour from the environment rather than from their nature. Therefore, a sociopath will understand that something is sad or tragic and will acknowledge that there are certain standards which people will label according to them. They obtain all the information and the reactions of the people around them.
Differences between nature and nurture
Nature is inherited skills, whereas nurture refers to the personal skills.
It completely depends upon the heredity whereas nurture does not depend upon the heredity.
Nature includes the genes which are determined by physical factors and personality traits. On the other hand, nurture refers to your childhood or the way you grown up.
It includes the biological and family factors whereas the nurture includes the social and environment factors.
In nature, behaviour is the result of genetic, inherited structure whereas in nurture, behaviour is the result of learning from the outside peers and religion.
Nature is also known as innate behaviour whereas nurture means learned behaviour.
We have just discussed the explanation part of nature vs. nurture. So, now you will discuss the nature vs. nurture essay.
Nature vs. Nurture essay structure
The structure of nature vs. nurture essay will be:
Paragraph 1- Introduction
Paragraph 2- Body 1
Paragraph 3- Body 2
Paragraph 4- Body 3
Paragraph 5- Conclusion
Tips to write nature vs. nurture essay easily
- Your main idea should be that your essay must contain the proper explanation of nature vs. nurture.
- The content should be easily understandable.
Topic should match with your main idea
Use only single sentence
Explain topic sentence clearly, so that your audience will understand it.
It should also contains the nature vs. nurture essay sample
Aims of Nature vs. Nurture Essay
To be able to describe at least one study which supports the both nature and nurture.
The essay should be easily identify the applications and problems which relates to the topic.
The essay should evaluate the topic
Nature vs. nurture essay should be able to understand the meaning of nature and nurture and the ways to identify the assumptions.
Try to explain each point with examples for the better understanding
Maintain a flow in the whole essay
Outline of nature vs. nurture essay
The outlines of nature vs. nurture essay are:
Firstly, give a brief description of nature vs. nurture definitions and their importance.
Secondly, illustrate all the relevant studies which are part of nature and nurture.
Thirdly, compare and contrast the impact on the case studies in regards to nature and nurture.
Nature vs. Nurture in Psychology
by Saul McLeod updated 2015
The nature vs. nurture debate within psychology is concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behavior are a product of either inherited (i.e., genetic) or acquired (i.e., learned) characteristics.
Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception, e.g., the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual.
The nature-nurture debate is concerned with the relative contribution that both influences make to human behavior.
Nature Nurture Debate in Psychology
It has long been known that certain physical characteristics are biologically determined by genetic inheritance. Color of eyes, straight or curly hair, pigmentation of the skin and certain diseases (such as Huntingdon’s chorea) are all a function of the genes we inherit. Other physical characteristics, if not determined, appear to be at least strongly influenced by the genetic make-up of our biological parents.
Height, weight, hair loss (in men), life expectancy and vulnerability to specific illnesses (e.g., breast cancer in women) are positively correlated between genetically related individuals. These facts have led many to speculate as to whether psychological characteristics such as behavioral tendencies, personality attributes, and mental abilities are also “wired in” before we are even born.
Those who adopt an extreme hereditary position are known as nativists. Their basic assumption is that the characteristics of the human species as a whole are a product of evolution and that individual differences are due to each person’s unique genetic code. In general, the earlier a particular ability appears, the more likely it is to be under the influence of genetic factors.
Characteristics and differences that are not observable at birth, but which emerge later in life, are regarded as the product of maturation. That is to say, we all have an inner “biological clock” which switches on (or off) types of behavior in a pre-programmed way.
The classic example of the way this affects our physical development are the bodily changes that occur in early adolescence at puberty. However, nativists also argue that maturation governs the emergence of attachment in infancy, language acquisition and even cognitive development as a whole.
At the other end of the spectrum are the environmentalists also known as empiricists (not to be confused with the other empirical / scientific approach). Their basic assumption is that at birth the human mind is a tabula rasa (a blank slate) and that this is gradually “filled” as a result of experience (e.g., behaviorism).
From this point of view, psychological characteristics and behavioral differences that emerge through infancy and childhood are the results of learning. It is how you are brought up (nurture) that governs the psychologically significant aspects of child development and the concept of maturation applies only to the biological.
For example, when an infant forms an attachment it is responding to the love and attention it has received, language comes from imitating the speech of others, and cognitive development depends on the degree of stimulation in the environment and, more broadly, on the civilization within which the child is reared.
Examples of an extreme nature positions in psychology include Bowlby's (1969) theory of attachment, which views the bond between mother and child as being an innate process that ensures survival. Likewise, Chomsky (1965) proposed language is gained through the use of an innate language acquisition device. Another example of nature is Freud's theory of aggression as being an innate drive (called Thanatos).
In contrast Bandura's (1977) social learning theory states that aggression is a learned from the environment through observation and imitation. This is seen in his famous Bobo doll experiment (Bandura, 1961). Also, Skinner (1957) believed that language is learnt from other people via behavior shaping techniques.
In practice, hardly anyone today accepts either of the extreme positions. There are simply too many “facts” on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with an “all or nothing” view. So instead of asking whether child development is down to nature or nurture the question has been reformulated as “How much?” That is to say, given that heredity and environment both influence the person we become, which is the more important?
This question was first framed by Francis Galton in the late 19th century. Galton (himself a relative of Charles Darwin) was convinced that intellectual ability was largely inherited and that the tendency for “genius” to run in families was the outcome of a natural superiority.
This view has cropped up time and again in the history of psychology and has stimulated much of the research into intelligence testing (particularly on separated twins and adopted children). A modern proponent is the American psychologist Arthur Jenson. Finding that the average I.Q. scores of black Americans were significantly lower than whites he went on to argue that genetic factors were mainly responsible even going so far as to suggest that intelligence is 80% inherited.
The storm of controversy that developed around Jenson’s claims was not mainly due to logical and empirical weaknesses in his argument. It was more to do with the social and political implications that are often drawn from research that claims to demonstrate natural inequalities between social groups.
Galton himself in 1883 suggested that human society could be improved by “better breeding.” In the 1920’s the American Eugenics Society campaigned for the sterilization of men and women in psychiatric hospitals. Today in Britain many believe that the immigration policies are designed to discriminate against Black and Asian ethnic groups. However the most chilling of all implications drawn from this view of the natural superiority of one race over another took place in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.
For many environmentalists there is a barely disguised right-wing agenda behind the work of the behavioral geneticists. In their view, part of the difference in the I.Q. scores of different ethnic groups are due to inbuilt biases in the methods of testing. More fundamentally, they believe that differences in intellectual ability are a product of social inequalities in access to material resources and opportunities. To put it simply children brought up in the ghetto tend to score lower on tests because they are denied the same life chances as more privileged members of society.
Now we can see why the nature-nurture debate has become such a hotly contested issue. What begins as an attempt to understand the causes of behavioral differences often develops into a politically motivated dispute about distributive justice and power in society. What’s more, this doesn’t only apply to the debate over I.Q. It is equally relevant to the psychology of sex and gender, where the question of how much of the (alleged) differences in male and female behavior is due to biology and how much to culture is just as controversial.
However, in recent years there has been a growing realization that the question of “how much” behavior is due to heredity and “how much” to the environment may itself be the wrong question. Take intelligence as an example. Like almost all types of human behavior, it is a complex, many-sided phenomenon which reveals itself (or not!) in a great variety of ways. The “how much” question assumes that the variables can all be expressed numerically and that the issue can be resolved in a quantitative manner. The reality is that nature and culture interact in a host of qualitatively different ways.
It is widely accepted now that heredity and the environment do not act independently. Both nature and nurture are essential for any behavior, and it cannot be said that a particular behavior is genetic and another is environmental. It is impossible to separate the two influences as well as illogical as nature and nurture do not operate in a separate way but interact in a complex manner.
Instead of defending extreme nativist or nurturist views, most psychological researchers are now interested in investigating how nature and nurture interact. For example, in psychopathology, this means that both a genetic predisposition and an appropriate environmental trigger are required for a mental disorder to develop. Therefore, it makes more sense to say that the difference between two people’s behavior is mostly due to hereditary factors or mostly due to environmental factors.
This realization is especially important given the recent advances in genetics. The Human Genome Project, for example, has stimulated enormous interest in tracing types of behavior to particular strands of DNA located on specific chromosomes. Newspaper reports announce that scientists are on the verge of discovering (or have already discovered) the gene for criminality, for alcoholism or the “gay gene.”
If these advances are not to be abused, then there will need to be a more general understanding of the fact that biology interacts with both the cultural context and the personal choices that people make about how they want to live their lives. There is no neat and simple way of unraveling these qualitatively different and reciprocal influences on human behavior.
View the complete article as a PDF document
Bandura, A. Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through the imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-582
Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment. Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Loss. New York: Basic Books.
Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the theory of syntax. MIT Press.
Galton, F. (1883). Inquiries into human faculty and its development. London: J.M. Dent & Co.
Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. Acton, MA: Copley Publishing Group.
How to reference this article:
McLeod, S. A. (2015). Nature vs nurture in psychology. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/naturevsnurture.html