Nature vs. Nurture Debate
The History of Nature vs. Nurture
Psychology as a science can be dated back to psychologist Wilhelm Wundt who in 1879 developed the first psychology lab located in Leipzig, Germany.
While many theorists before Wundt had their own ideas, feelings and thoughts it was Wundt who was able to guide psychology to becoming a accepted scientific discipline.
Over the years many psychologists have studied and theorized human behaviors in an attempt to figure out why people act the way they act, but it seems the answer is never black or white; always grey.
Hereditary vs. Enviorment
Orgin of Species
Although this book did not directly discuss the theory of nature vs. nurture or hereditary vs. environment it seemed to dance around the idea that individuals born into wealthy homes, social privilege(s) and good education seemed to pass this off to offspring as well. These ideas got Galton thinking; hence hereditary vs. environmental factors in dictating behavior(s) was theorized.
As psychology has matured many theorists have made the nature vs. nurture debate the backbone of their studies on behavior.
While neither argument (nature or nurture) seems to be "ahead" of the other they both shed light on why human beings act the way they do.
Let's take a brief stroll into the nature vs. nurture debate that has been in the forefront of explaining human behaviors for centuries.
The nature argument states that human beings are genetically wired to do things based on their genetic make-up. What is biological make-up?
To explain this briefly "daddy" contributes 23 chromosomes (via semen) to "mommy" (ova) 9-10 months later a baby made up of 46 chromosomes is born.
Therefore a baby is rightfully half their mother and half their father, making that baby 100% unique.
Back to our nature argument.....
Since all our physical attributes are undeniably connected to that of our family members (hair color, eye color, height, etc.) nature clearly wins in this arena.
However, we will come back to this example a little later as we explore nurture.
Strictly following the nature side of the debate this would also mean that we are pre-wired to behave a certain way, have similar personalities, and be mentally equal to our parents; from conception until death with no outside influences coming into play.
Nurture takes a different approach. The nurture argument states that babies are born with a "blank slate", otherwise known as tabula rasa (in the psychology world) and what they learn growing up dictates their behaviors, personalities and mental capabilities. In a nutshell nurture believes that the life experiences of a baby, child, teenager, and young adult "molds" them into the adults they become.
Remember how we talked about our physical attributes being genetically predetermined by that of our parents. Well this is only at birth, when your teenageager decides to dye their hair purple because they "learned" they could; nurture wins.
Nature vs. Nurture
A common practice among nature vs. nurture theorists is the study of twins who were separated at birth.
Twin studies allow scientists to observe the differences in a child's upbringing (or environment) while maintaining the same genetic influences.
- Nature vs. Nuture - Twin Study Overview
- 'Identical Strangers' Explore Nature Vs. Nurture : NPR
Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein were both adopted as infants. They met for the first time when they were 35 years old. That's when they discovered they are identical twins — separated at adoption and subjects in a secret research project.
Tell me what you think....
I beleive that....
In my opinion human beings are finely tuned from genetics and the environment.
I believe that we are pre-wired to inherit certain characteristics and these characteristics either stay with us as we grow or change and adapt to the circumstances we encounter as we mature.
That said psychology has yet to side solely with nature or nurture which leads me to believe that both must come into play at one time or another in our lives.
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