The nature and nurture concept is one of psychology’s most debated philosophical issues. Nature refers to genetically inherited factors that affect who we are. Nature is responsible for our physical appearance and personality traits. Contrariwise, Nurture refers to the environmental factors that affect people, for instance, childhood experiences, social interactions, and culture. The concepts of nature and nurture have raised different views among psychologists (Kong, et al., 2018). For instance, biological psychology argues that genetics and biological inheritance greatly influence human development and behavior. At the same time, social psychologists claim that environmental variables significantly influence human behavior and development. Each side has solid points, but it is impossible to say whether a person’s growth is primarily impacted by their life experiences and surroundings or primarily influenced by their DNA.
Some great philosophers, such as Plato and Descartes, argued that some things in life occur naturally and are not influenced by the environment (Kong, et al., 2018). Nativists believe that most behaviors, if not all, are inherited and that the change in these behaviors and traits results from evolution. The nature believers also believe that genetic traits transferred from parents to children differ, which is why each individual is unique. Other great thinkers such as John Locke argued that the mind of a human being begins as a blank tab, and the knowledge gained is as a result of experiences in life. In contrast, nurture supporters believe that behavior and traits are defined by learning and the environment (Loeffler, 2019). For instance, the nurture advocates argue that all activities and conducts result from conditioning. Behaviorists such as John B Watson argue that human beings can be trained to have some behaviors irrespective of their genomic context.
I decided to choose the topic of nature and nurture since it is crucial in understanding how the environment impacts one’s life and the influence of genetic characteristics. I will lay out the fundamentals of each topic and provide some examples in this brief discussion. The nature concept is based on the belief that inherited characteristics shape a person’s personality, focusing on genetic development. Physical characteristics and personality traits, IQ, and preferences are inherited from our parents. Nature has been shown to play an important role in the genesis of certain mental illnesses (Georgiades, et al., 2017). Addictions were likewise given greater weight on the nature side of the debate than on the nurture side. Although social interaction or the surroundings have a greater influence on an individual drugs addiction, biological impact plays the greatest role. A study on the nature and nurture influence of twin raising shows that the environment had little impact when the twins were raised together. This proved that the biological concept had great influence. On the other hand, twins raised in different environments show that the children behaved differently.
Conversely, Nurture is the progression by which an individual gets exclusive physiognomies from their immediate milieu. According to the nurture principle, our upbringing, the city we grew up in, and how we have been raised are all environmental elements that shape who we are. In my view, People are not always influenced by their circumstances. Consider the case of a young man who grew up in a dangerous neighborhood. He is surrounded by people involved in drug dealing, thieving, and various other crimes. Nonetheless, he aspires to leave that atmosphere, attend college, and establish his name. The demonstration above shows how the nature/nurture debate does not necessarily determine who we are as individuals.
Other examples of the nature and nurture debate manifest on the cause of high blood pressure and obesity. The nurture believers argue that genetics greatly influences obesity and blood pressure. They believe that if a parent has hypertension, the children can also develop the condition at one time in their life. On the other hand, Advocates of nurture cite obesity as a condition brought by poor eating behavior and inability to control some personal behavior results in hypertension. Homosexuality is a real-life example and one of the utmost hotly disputed issues in today’s nature versus nurture discussion. Homosexuality, according to advocates of nature, is genetically controlled behavior. (Bowling, et al., 2017).
Consequently, nurture advocates suggest that homosexuality is a choice or a behavior determined by environment and learned behavior. There is also a conflict between nature and nurture advocates on people’s occupation. Some advocates argue that career choice is biologically influenced: if parents are in a certain career, their children are likely to engage in the same career. On the contrary, nurture proponents suggest that career choice and job selection are highly determined by the learned skills from parents and the environment. Nonetheless, both nature and nurture advocates agree that whether environment or biology influences an individual in some situations, they do not play any role. For instance, when a footballer has a child who also becomes a footballer. It is not easy to know if the football skills were passed down from the parent to the child or the continuous training that caused them to be a footballer.
The nature versus nurture discussion often involves individual personality. Most people wish to know how their children develop some traits and learn if the character is inherited or learned from the environment. For instance, if a child behaves like the parents, it is obvious that the personality is inherited. On the other hand, Nurture supporters argue that some children may learn and behave like their parents because of the close interaction between the parent and the children. However, some characteristics have failed to be determined by the concept of nature and nurture (Bowling, et al., 2017). For instance, scientists have not been able to explain whether academic success is genetically predisposed or influenced by the environment. Domestic violence has also raised concern on whether it is inherited or learned behavior from the environment.
The concept of nature and nurture is significant in my life as it will help me understand some behaviors in school and the workplace as I believe that both nature and nurture have a significant impact on life. My view is deduced from the recent discovery by the psychologist that both nature and nurture have a role in an individual’s overall development. Both concepts work together in the modification of people’s behavior. The nature versus nurture debate rages on, but the reality remains that we all have features that our DNA codes, but we can still select whom we want to be as we grow and develop throughout our lives.
Bowling, D. L., Hoeschele, M., Gill, K. Z., & Fitch, W. T. (2017). The nature and nurture of musical consonance. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 35(1), 118-121.
Georgiades, E., Klissouras, V., Baulch, J., Wang, G., & Pitsiladis, Y. (2017). Why nature prevails over nurture in the making of the elite athlete. BMC genomics, 18(8), 59-66.
Kong, A., Thorleifsson, G., Frigge, M. L., Vilhjalmsson, B. J., Young, A. I., Thorgeirsson, T. E., … & Stefansson, K. (2018). The nature of nurture: Effects of parental genotypes. Science, 359(6374), 424-428.
Loeffler, T. A. (2019). Looking back, paddling forward: Perspectives on outdoor expedition participation over the lifespan. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 19(2), 111-123.