Nature vs. Nuture
University of New Hampshire
For more than 50 years sane voices have searched for an answer to the everlasting debate of nature vs nurture. The debate causes quite a controversy, whether inherited genes or the environment influences and effects personality. Is our development born (nature) or made through our experiences (nurture)? Some believe that is strictly our genes; others believe it is the environment; while others believe that is a combination of both, our genes and the environment. In the 18th century, Locke claimed that individuals were born was a tabula rasa and only experience could establish mind, consciousness, and the self. Leibniz envisioned the self as a monad carrying with it knowledge of a basic understanding of the world (Macleod, 2007).
The nature side of this debate argues that development is based on the genetic factors that one is born with. Those who adopt an extreme heredity position on the debate are known as nativists. Their basic assumption is that the characteristics of a human as a while are a product of evolution and that individual differences between people are due to each person’s unique genetic code. They also believe that maturation is responsible for characteristics and differences that are not seen at birth, but observed later in life.
At the other end of the debate, lie the empiricists. Empiricists’ basic assumption is that at birth the human mind is a blank slate and as we grow and develop as a person, our “blank slate” is filled as a result of one’s personal experiences. Empiricists believe that the concept of maturation applies only to ones physical and biological maturation, and that it is how one is brought up that determines the psychological aspects of one’s development (Macleod, 2007). The traditional dichotomy of nature vs. nuture is commonly seen as a false dichotomy. Today it is largely agreed upon that nature and nurture are intimately...
Cited: 1. Decasper, A.J., & Fifer, W.P. (1980). Of human bonding: Newborns prefer their mother’s voices. Science, 208, 1174-1176.
2. McLeod, S. A. (2007). Nature Nurture in Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/naturevsnurture.html
3. Scarr, S. & McCartney, K. (1983). How people make their own environments. A theory of genotype influences environment effects. Child Development, 54, 424-435.
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