Friday, January 29, 2016


The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest philosophical issues within psychology. The debate centers on the relative contributions of genetic inheritance and environmental factors to human development. NATURE  Nature in the sense of nativism or innatism.  The phrase relates to the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities.  It refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are- from our physical appearance to our personality characteristics.  Nativists take the position that all or most behaviors and characteristics are the result of inheritance.  They believe this is the result of evolution.  Advocates believe genetic traits handed down from parents influence the individual differences that make each person unique.  NURTURE  Nurture in the sense of empiricism or behaviorism.  The phrase relates to an individual's personal experiences in causing individual differences, especially in behavior traits.  Empiricists take the position that all or most behaviors and characteristics result from learning.  BEHAVIORISM is a good example of a theory rooted in empiricism.  It focuses on the impact that environment has on behavior. The behaviorists believe that all actions and behaviors are the result of conditioning. For example:  When a person achieves academic success, did they do so because they are genetically predisposed to be successful or is it a result of an enriched environment?  Another:  If a man abuses his wife and kids, is it because he was born with violent tendencies or is it something he learned by observing his parents behavior?  BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY tends to stress the importance of genetics and biological influences.  A few examples of biologically determined characteristics (nature) include certain genetic diseases, eye, hair and skin color.  Life expectancy and height have a strong biological components, but they are also influenced by lifestyle and environmental factors.  THE NATURE AND NURTURE INTERACT.  The interaction between heredity and environment is often most important factor of all.  Height is a trait that is influenced by the interaction.  A child might come from a family where everyone is tall.  He may have inherited this gene, however, if he is deprived of the proper nourishment, he may not be as tall as if he grew up in a healthier environment.  Today, the majority of experts believe that both nature and nurture influence behavior and development.  There is not a simple way to disentangle the multitude of forces that exist.  Examples of these influences are genetic factor that interact with one another, environmental factors that interact.  Such as social experiences and overall culture and how both hereditary and environmental influences intermingle.

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