Virtual Child Paper: Nature vs. Nurture
I have always held the belief that Nature v Nurture is not a zero-sum game. To steal a line from T.S. Elliot’s The Hollow Men, I believe humans are born into this world a “shape without form.” That shape, of course, is our nature; the sum of our genetic make-up and natural tendencies based on some combination of predisposition and innate sense of self. The form, then, necessarily reflects our experiences and the way those have restructured our ‘self.’ The nurture of our mind, particularly at a young age, is instrumental in providing depth and context to our natural shape. Both aspects of our ‘self’ are complimentary. Just like we are unable to understand shape without the context of form, we are similarly unable to understand humans without an understanding in the dynamic of both nature and nurture expressed through our behavior, desires, and interactions.
Raising a virtual child did not change my initial thoughts on the collaborative importance of nature vs. nurture. However, I was curious to see what my child, Chase, would be like at 18, and so I answered each question thoughtfully based on what would be best for him. The feedback about Chase provided substantial evidence to backup my nature vs. nurture belief.
The influence of nature on Chase’s development was evident in several life stages throughout the program. To begin, the assessments in Chase’s life revealed above average performances in multiple subject areas. This advanced state in development is a common result of a psychological perspective called the Core Knowledge Perspective. This states that infants are born with innate special purpose knowledge systems, which results in rapid early development. In the virtual child program, Chase was, “advanced in his gross and fine motor skills and seemed to have little goals that involved two steps of planning ahead.” On the flip side, after the positive feedback in...
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