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Debate of Nature vs Nurture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Health
Wordcount: 1115 words Published: 5th Sep 2017

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The historical debate regarding nature and nurture has been going on for years and is still unresolved. Many theorists believe what we have inherited and our genes, makes us the way we are and affects how we develop. Other theorists believe it is the way we are brought up and our experiences, that make us the way we are and how we develop. [1]

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Nature is the coding of genes in each cell in us humans determine the different traits that we have, more dominantly on the physical attributes like eye color, hair color, ear size, height, and other traits. However, it is still not known whether the more abstract attributes like personality, intelligence, sexual orientation, likes and dislikes are gene-coded in our DNA, too. [2]

The nurture theory holds that genetic influence over abstract traits may exist; however, the environmental factors are the real origins of our behavior. This includes the use of conditioning in order to induce a new behavior to a child, or alter an unlikely behavior being shown by the child. According to John Watson, one of the strongest psychologists who propose environmental learning as a dominating side in the nature vs nurture debate, once said that he can be able to train a baby randomly chosen in a group of 12 infants, to become any type of specialist Watson wants. He stated that he could train him to be such regardless of the child’s potentialities, talents and race. [2]

In the case of personality traits, non-shared environmental effects are often found to outweigh shared environmental effects. That is, environmental effects that are typically thought to be life-shaping (such as family life) may have less of an impact than non-shared effects, which are harder to identify. One possible source of nonshared effects is the environment of prenatal development. Random variations in the genetic program of development may be a substantial source of nonshared environment. These results suggest that “nurture” may not be the predominant factor in “environment”. Environment and our situations, do in fact impact our lives, but not the way in which we would typically react to these environmental factors. We are preset with personality traits that are the basis for how we would react to situations. An example would be how extraverted prisoners become less happy than introverted prisoners and would react to their incarceration more negatively due to their preset extraverted personality [3]

Throughout the stages of our life nature and nurture play a large part and help dictate where we will end up in the future for example if you were brought up in a place with a really bad drug problems it’s likely that you will also develop a drug addiction, also if you were brought up in an area with a lot of gang problems it’s likely that you will become involved in gang related issues.

Neglect and abuse can also affect your development as it could leave you with psychological issues that if left unresolved could cause problems in your adult life, for example if at a young age you see your father beating your mother you might begin to think that this is what is suppose to happen unless told otherwise, leading to you in the future having psychological problems.

At childhood the brain is like a sponge and will absorbs any information it is told by the senses.

Children’s temperament such as their characteristics and ways of responding to emotional events, novel stimuli, and their own impulses seem to be in part affected by their individual genetic makeup.

Similarly, being slow or quick to learn from instruction and everyday experiences has some genetic basis. Inherited characteristics and tendencies are not always evident at birth. Many physical features emerge gradually through the process of maturation, the genetically guided changes that occur over the course of development. Environmental support, such as food, reasonably safe and toxin-free surroundings, and responsive care from others, is necessary for maturation to take place; nature never works alone.[4]

Birth and Infancy

How a mother handles her pregnancy is critical to a baby’s development, if a pregnant mother drinks large quantities of alcohol  it can affect her unborn baby extremely, children born with foetal alcohol syndrome tend to be born smaller, tend to have smaller heads and may have heart problems and learning difficulties.

Also it is important that during the pregnancy the mother stays healthy as possible as if the mother develops any infections such as rubella it can cause impaired hearing and eyesight or heart damage,

things like a mother’s diet could also affect their unborn child as you are affected by what your mother eats for example if a mother’s diet is high in fat and sugar the child will be have a risk of heart disease and malnutrition, if a mother eats a low amount of healthy food during their pregnancy it can lead to poor health for the child.

During infancy Relationships are particularly important as infants learn primarily through their relationship with others. Eye contact, smiles and imitation set the stage for more sustained communication and meaningful exchanges and engagement with parents and other caregivers, and a growing world of relationships. [5]


  1. http://www.studymode.com/essays/M1-Discuss-The-Nature-Nurture-Debate-1503784.html
  2. https://explorable.com/nature-vs-nurture-debate
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_versus_nurture#Personality_traits
  4. http://www.education.com/reference/article/nature-nurture/
  5. http://www.beststart.org/OnTrack_English/2-factors.html


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