What Make Us Who We Are Nature vs. Nurture Debate - Essay Example

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What make us who we are how far are human behaviours, ideas, and feelings, innate, and how far are they all learned These issues are at the focal point of that continuing debate that is often known as the nature versus nurture debate or controversy (Nature nurture vs., n.d.)…
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What Make Us Who We Are Nature vs. Nurture Debate
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Download file to see previous pages Whilst it is known that physical characteristics are hereditary, the genetics' role is still unclear when it comes to an individual's behaviour, intelligence, and personality. Ultimately, the old argument of nature vs. nurture has never really been won. We do not yet know how much of what we are is determined by our DNA and how much by our life experience. However, one thing is sure, both nature and nurture play a part in making us who we are today (Powell, 2003).

Nature versus nurture is a shorthand expression for debates about the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature") versus personal experiences ("nurture") in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits (Nature vs. nurture, 2006). The use of the terms "nature" and "nurture" as a suitable catch-phrase for the roles of heredity and environment in human development can be traced back to 13th century France. Some scientists think that people behave as they do according to genetic predispositions or even "animal instincts." This is known as the "nature" theory of human behaviour. Other scientists believe that people think and behave in certain ways because they are taught to do so. This is known as the "nurture" theory of human behaviour (Powell, 2003).
Although "nurture" may have historically referred mainly to the care given to children by their parents, any environmental (not genetic) factor also would count as "nurture" in a contemporary nature versus nurture debate, including one's childhood friends, one's early experiences with television, and one's experience in the womb. Indeed, a substantial source of environmental influence to human nature may come from stochastic variations in prenatal development. Moreover, although childhood experience (especially early childhood experience) is often regarded as more influential in who one becomes than post-childhood experience, a liberal interpretation of "nurture" might count all life experience as "nurture (Nature vs. nurture, 2006)."
The nature vs. nurture debate is one of the most enduring in the field of psychology. In the 17th century the French philosopher Ren Descartes set out views which held that people possess certain inborn ideas that enduringly underpin people's approach to the world. The British philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, on the other hand, took a more empirical approach emphasising the role of experience as fully contributing to behavioral development (Nature nurture vs., n.d.). Since the days of Descartes, Hobbes, and Locke, the empirical "nuture" approach has possibly tended to have the best of the argument but the debate is far from being settled (Nature nurture vs., n.d.).
The Nature Theory - Heredity
Scientists have known for years that physical characteristics such as eye color and hair color are dictated by specific genes encoded in each human cell. The Nature Theory takes things a step further to say those more abstract traits such as intelligence; personality, aggression, and homosexuality are also encoded in an individual's DNA (Powell, 2003).
The Nurture Theory - Environment
Whilst not discounting that genetic tendencies may exist, supporters of the nurture theory believe they ultimately don't matter - that our behavioural aspects originate only from the environmental factors of our upbringing. Studies on infant and child temperament have revealed the most crucial evidence for nurture theories (Powell, 2003)
Researchers on all sides of the nature vs. nurture debate agree that the link between a gene and behaviour is not the same as cause and effect. Whilst a gene may ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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