Nature versus Nurture

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The debate over nature versus nurture in influencing human development and behavior has been contested heavily over the years. Nurture is used to refer to the cultural and environmental factors that affect an individual in the society such as upbringing and social factors. On the other hand, nature refers to the innate and hereditary aspects of a person in the society. These are the factors that are not within a persons control since they are innate and genetically inherited from family and ancestors. This paper compares the difference between nature and nurture assessing which carries more weight in human development.

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The nativists believe in the hereditary position as the primary factor that influences human development. They, therefore, regard the inner self to influence and determine the position taken by individuals in the society. People are therefore believed to have a genetic code that influences the decisions and behavioral traits that they exemplify in the society (Esterman and Genius 7). An example of extreme nature or heredity in human development can be cited in the theory of attachment between a mother and child. There are others who also believe that language is also an intuitive process that is influenced by one's hereditary influences.

On the other hand, there are the empiricists who believe that the environment or nurture is the main force in human development (Perry 95). The proponents of this school of thought are adamant that it is how one is brought up and the behavioral influences that affect their development. The behavioral influences make up what an individual learns as supported by the social learning theory that asserts the learning process of individuals in the society. Skinner experiments also support nurture as the primary influence on human development (Perry 81). Different examples and models support the two views of nature and nurture in the society. Since splitting the two has proven challenging in the society, the question of how much nature or nurture influences human development comes to the fore.

Research has been conducted on the importance of heredity in intelligence for example. The study by Francis Galton found that intelligence was mainly as a result of natural abilities that were identified as innate in a persons life (Esterman and Genius 5). According to the research, an individual had the inherent characteristics that made them more intelligent and was not mainly influenced by the society. However, when an American theorist Arthur Jenson did research on the differences between the IQ of Black Americans and Whites it raised a lot of controversies (Esterman and Genius 6). The study identified the Whites to be primary but political reasons hampered any advanced research on these models. The empiricists argued that given the living conditions and background of the two groups of people, conducting research on their IQ was not consistent or accurate given their influence in the society. The research should have identified the different conditions that make the Black Americans weaker and not their innate nature.

Although research on either side recognizes nature or nurture as stronger, it is important to acknowledge that the two work hand in hand in human development. One cannot be split or regarded as more important than the other since every individual is influenced by their genetic make-up as well as their environment. Depending on whether one is a nativist or empiricist, the position taken differs, but they are both critical to human development.

Works CitedEsterman, Jonathan, and Scripted Genius. "Nature vs. Nurture." (2012).

Perry, Bruce D. "Childhood experience and the expression of genetic potential: What childhood neglect tells us about nature and nurture." Brain and mind 3.1 (2002): 79-100.

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