“Our genes made us. We animals exist for their preservation and are nothing more than their throwaway survival machines.” This is what Richard Dawkins states in his book: The Selfish Gene. In his international best seller book, he argues that we are merely a product of our genes and our main purpose in life is to serve the genes, become distribution agents and ensure their proliferation. Before we take any stand to Dawkins’ statement, let us familiarize ourselves with what is meant when the term nature is used. Nature represents what we are born with and cannot control. Our biological make up is determined by the genes we receive from our parents (reside in the 23 pairs of chromosomes, 23 from each parent.) “A gene is a segment of DNA or a sequence of nucleotides in DNA that codes for a functional product,” (Tortora, Microbiology. p. 575.) These genes not only affect our outlook, but also play a significant role in determining our behavior and our well-being. “Through new genetic studies, clinical observation, and research on identical twins and adopted children, we are becoming increasingly aware that many of the human characteristics previously taken for granted as products of childhood rearing and environment are rooted in the genetic matrix.”, (Neubrauer, Peter. p 38) Studies of identical twins reared apart have provided researchers with a lot of clues about the role of heredity in everyday life behavior. Twins (monozygotes) are of extraordinary importance when studying heredity because they share identical copies of genes. An interesting study on twin brothers who were separated at birth and raised in different countries by respective adoptive parents showed that they both kept their lives neat, ‘neat to the point of pathology.’ Their clothes were preened, appointments met precisely on time.
When asked about the reason they felt to be so clean, the first one replied ” My mother. When I was growing up she always kept the house perfectly ordered. She insisted on every little thing returned to its proper place,… I learned from her. What else could I do?” When his twin brother was asked the same question he answered “The reason is quite simple. I’m reacting to my mother, who was an absolute slob.”, (Neubrauer, Peter P 21) In this example, we see a natural preference based on heredity. Both twins blamed their mothers for their behaviors, while none of the mothers required such neatness. Another study on heredity and alcoholism conducted by Goodwin et al. (1973) indicated that adoptees with alcoholic parents were four times more likely to become alcoholics than those without, although there was no such relationship with alcohol misuse in adoptive parents, (Pelle, Stanton. p 2). Even though scientists have only identified 16,000 out of the total 100,000 genes, many psychological diseases are on the verge of being unraveled. Take for instance schizophrenia, a disease characterized by (hallucinations, delusions, flat or inappropriate emotional expression, paranoia and suspiciousness). New findings point out to its relatedness to genetics. Genetic markers for schizophrenia are founded on chromosomes 22, 6, 13, 8 and 9, (De Angelis, Tori. Boston globe.) These examples reveal the genetic role in our development. They also expose our predisposition to certain traits and behaviors.
The second camp sitting on the other side of the fence is the advocates for nurture. Here, nurture represents our surrounding: parents, class-mates, colleagues, our value system and our society as a whole. People in this camp argue that man is a product of his environment. Some extremists went as far as saying: give us any new born infant and we will shape him/her just the way we want, by placing him/her in the desired environment. ” As one grows from infancy to adulthood, social experience plays a critical and constant role in the regulation of growth , behavior and emotions,” (Glick, Marion E.) Here we are told that social deprivation at different stages of development can lead to abnormalities in the stress hormone system, which may produce severe and long-lasting physical, neural and psychological consequences. It is also interesting to consider the gender differences due to the change in environment. Few decades ago, women were considered inferior to men in their achievements. Today, even though the misconception of gender roles in society is still present, we can clearly see the gap between men and women narrowing due to the change in environment. The new school emerging to help bring the nature nurture argument to rest professes that there is no war between nature and nurture. Indeed, such war would be absurd because it is the interaction of nature and nurture that defines our behavior and well-being. Here, a question as ” WHY DID YOU STEEL THE CAR? “, cannot be answered by: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, or better yet, MY GENES MADE ME DO IT. In understanding a behavior, both nature and nurture are taken to consideration.
“Moreover, it is perfectly obvious that human social life is related to human biology…Of course, neither biological nor cultural determinists ever wish entirely to exclude the significance of the other.” (R.C Lewontin. p.267-268.) Many psychological illnesses can be explained as a result of combined genetics and environmental factors. As already stated in this paper, schizophrenia has genetic basis. It is also a fact that this mental disease is triggered by environmental factors including family factors and external stress. Paul Grobstein, in his article”Genes, Environments, and Individual Choice” explains that “In human development and behavior, as in the development and behavior of all other living organisms, the genome and the environment instead productively interact with one another, both contributing unique and valuable information to the emergence of distinctive individuals” It is also noteworthy to mention that no two individuals are the same. Not even monozygotic twins have the same environment. “Every person is a unique and non recurrent”, (Dobzhansky, Theodosius. p.8) In sum, in this paper we can conclude that our development and behavior are products of the interaction between nature and nurture. Scientists confirm that we are predisposed to certain traits and behaviors, but this predisposition is susceptible to modification by genetics as well as environmental factors. We can no longer dwell on the question “Is it Nature or Nurture That Determines Who We Are?” We learn that it is this combination of these two vital factors that shape and define our development and behavior.
- Dangles, Tori.” Chromosomes contain clues on schizophrenia”, Boston Globe, Feb17-97
- Dobzhansky,Theodosius. Genetic Diversity & Human Equality.1973
- Glick, Marion E.” Behavior and the Brain:A New View of the Nature-Nurture Debate.” Online. Internet.http//:www.rockefeller.edu/pubinfo/neurolecutre.nr.html. Feb.6.1996
- Neubauer, Peter. Nature’s Thumbprint,1990 Pelle, Stanton.Online.Internet.http://www.frw.uva.nl/acd/isg/drugs/peele/lib/genetics.html.%20Feb.17-97%205:00PM R.C. Lewontin. Not In Our Genes. 1984
- Richard, Dawkins. Selfish Gene, 2nd.edition.1989
- Tortora, Gerald. Microbiology An Introduction, 5th. edition.1995
Nature vs. nurture is considered as one of the most debatable topic in the world of psychology. Therefore, before proceeding to the essay outline, you should familiarize yourself with understanding of nature vs. nurture. So, let us just discuss nature vs. nurture deeply.
Understanding Nature vs. Nurture
Nature is all about those characteristics that are inherited from genes or from your parents. Nature contributes to the personality through genetics such as:
- Brain activation
- Nature and behaviour
Nurture is about those characteristics which develops from experiences and environment. Nurture contributes to the personality through influences such as:
- Parental relationships
- Environment and culture
Nature vs. Nurture Debate
Nature vs. Nurture is a debate about whether behaviour, personality and human culture caused by nature or nurture. In this debate nature id defined as the genetic and hormone based behaviour, while nurture is defined as the experience and environment.
History of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate
This debate is mainly about the effect of the genes on human personalities. In the 1960s, the people influence theory of behaviourism. The founder of behaviourism was John Watson. It claimed that human behaviours are acquired through conditioning. His experiment was successful in the beginning but failure at the end. Because he ignored the important genetic factors, his ideas got criticised.
Factors affecting mental health of nature
Nature is the important factor in the development of health problems. For example- depression, bipolar etc.
We cannot denied the important genetic factors.
The development of mental illness is not entirely genetic.
For e.g. In the case of identical twin, if one develops the condition than there will be 50% chance of developing the same condition in the other twin.
Factors affecting mental health of nurture
There are certain genetic factors which may create problem for particular illness.
The condition will not develop with less severity. In addition, the habits of parents, friends contribute to the development of an addiction.
Nature vs Nurture in children
The influences of nature vs nurture in children are:
In Terms of Personality
- Influence of the parents– The habits of a child and that of a parent is similar in many ways. The child usually follows his parent’s habits. They should spend quality time with their children’s. This suggests that the bonding between the parent and a child is not from the birth. But the parents interact with their children by birth. It is clear that parents must make sure that they create secure environment.
- An effect of nature-As we all know that personality development is a lifelong process. Nature use the genetic coding to help in the development and it impart some positive and the negative traits to an individual. The children develop their personality or bent towards certain behaviour which parents doesn’t indicate. In such situation, nature is at play in developing child’s personality.
In terms of Intelligence
- Nature– The individual’s ability to achieve greatness indicates the reason of being successful because of their parent’s intelligence. As a result the development in the early skills shows that child was “born smart”. In this psychologists are mainly involving in two areas. Firstly, it includes the intelligence of an individual. Secondly, other use to develop and refine the existing intelligence assessments.
- Nurture– It includes the child’s educational background and how his parents have raised him. The credit of the child’s success goes to the school system.
Applications of nature and nurture
Drug therapies treat the behavioural and psychological problems. It can also use to treat the depression.
You can adopt your environment influences, if your behaviour is liable and optimistic. For e.g. if you want to help others then you should have a positive attitude towards life.
Nature and Nurture characteristics
An individual tends to change the responses in other people. The characteristics are:
- Temperament– It is the way a young child acts and responds to different situations. They refer to the behavioural changes which do not occur due to parenting or caregiving. With a little understanding, parents can avoid frustration in their children and themselves.
- Natural Differences– Every child is different from each other. So, it’s also obvious that their adaption habits also differ. Some finish their task early as compared to others. As a parent, you must ensure that they are handling it with care and quality.
- Nurturing Success– The important points for the caregivers are
Firstly, you can’t change the temperamental traits.
Secondly, you should be prepared to deal difficult aspects of your child’s behaviour. Either you create the conflict or help them to have positive emotional and social behaviours.
Gender Differences: Nature vs. Nurture
Reaction of the people differs from boys and girls. This happens due to the expectation of masculine and feminine characteristics. Gender differences is an ongoing debate and the main reasons behind this is the social and biological differences.
The evolutionary psychology refers to the differences between the gender and sexuality because of evolution. This results in the strategies of differentiating between the men and women for success. This theory helps in obtaining the reproductive skills and the generational success of the genes passed on from the one generation to the other.
Factors of genes and gender
Genes plays an important role in differentiating the physical looks of males and females. However genes and chromosomes contains the differences that can lead to the physical features that can appear abnormal. Genes depicts the correlation between the individual’s genders.
Cognitive Social Learning Theory
In this theory the people learn from one another through observing, modelling etc. It also creates the bridge between the cognitive and behaviourist theories. People do not learn the new behaviour individually, they learn through the success or failure. Albert Bandura’s stated this theory. He explains that how the children’s learn in social environments by observing the behaviours of others. He observed that the adults are acting aggressively. They got the punishment after acting like this. He notices that children’s are not imitating the aggressive behaviour as compared to the adults.
Nature vs. Nurture case studies
Francis Galton was the first person who did this study. This study reveals that genes play important role in the development of certain personality characteristics. In this, 80% of identical twins feel closer to each other as compared to their friends.
To evaluate genetic and environmental influences you design Adoption study. This study provide some challenges related to the adoption. It has increased the privacy laws and concerns related to the biological parents. Recent changes in adoption study has occurred by combining the techniques and data of adoptees.
Nature and Nurture in psychology
The nature vs. nurture debate is oldest issue in psychology. The branches of psychology often take one approach from the other approach. Biology and environment both play an important role in the scientific world. Even today, research in psychology often tends to emphasize an individual influence over the other. The influences include the genetic factors that interact with each other.
NATURE VS. NURTURE CONTROVERSY
Nature vs. nurture controversy is an old debate among philosophers, theories of consciousness result in the creation of human personality. There are four humours of Hippocrates personalities:
They are the type of people who gets angry and lose their temper quickly. They cannot direct their anger in the right decisions. Stress reduces a person’s tolerance and makes easier for him to lose his temper. They become insecure and thinks that everyone is making fun of them.
They believe in themselves and their abilities. They visualize themselves in the best role and seek the positive attitude towards life. Confident people are unique and special in many ways. They accept the praise, compliments gracefully.
The reactions and the thoughts of moody person does not remains the same. It just depend upon their moods. They give more priority to their feelings rather than others.
They are born leader, dynamic and active; independent and self-sufficient; seek the practical solutions to problems; and move quickly to action.
Similarly, the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau theorised that people were born essentially good. Over the years, research done on this controversy and at the end everyone agrees that both nature and nurture play important role in human development.
Genes and behaviour
The genes are unable to assess the roles played by genetic factor in an individual’s behaviour. Scientists are able to develop the screening test and then diagnose the children shortly after birth. From the genetic point of view, physical traits such as color of a person’s hair haver higher heritable traits than behaviour.
MAJOR PARTS OF NATURE AND NURTURE
The parts of nature and nurture are:
GENES AND SUCCESS
People are born with talent, which results in the specialisation at an early stage. There are clear and measurable differences between people and their achievement. It is important because it relates to success and achievement.
We are not born pretty, not psychologically or intellectually. With the help of right guidance and luck you can improve skills.
Children’s belong to the middle class and wealthy homes, or having good genes is important in determining the future success. Genes plays an important role in the future success of each child.
They think themselves superior from others. Psychopathy may include the early life factors, genetics and the signs of psychopath. They are good at manipulating others. They do not show any emotions or sympathy for others.
Causes of psychopathy:
- -Abuse by the parents
- -lack of parents involvement or separation from a parent
- -Child physical abuse
The terms sociopath refers to someone who learns the immoral behaviour from the environment rather than from their nature. Therefore, a sociopath will understand that something is sad or tragic and will acknowledge that there are certain standards which people will label according to them. They obtain all the information and the reactions of the people around them.
Differences between nature and nurture
Nature is inherited skills, whereas nurture refers to the personal skills.
It completely depends upon the heredity whereas nurture does not depend upon the heredity.
Nature includes the genes which are determined by physical factors and personality traits. On the other hand, nurture refers to your childhood or the way you grown up.
It includes the biological and family factors whereas the nurture includes the social and environment factors.
In nature, behaviour is the result of genetic, inherited structure whereas in nurture, behaviour is the result of learning from the outside peers and religion.
Nature is also known as innate behaviour whereas nurture means learned behaviour.
We have just discussed the explanation part of nature vs. nurture. So, now you will discuss the nature vs. nurture essay.
Nature vs. Nurture essay structure
The structure of nature vs. nurture essay will be:
Paragraph 1- Introduction
Paragraph 2- Body 1
Paragraph 3- Body 2
Paragraph 4- Body 3
Paragraph 5- Conclusion
Tips to write nature vs. nurture essay easily
- Your main idea should be that your essay must contain the proper explanation of nature vs. nurture.
- The content should be easily understandable.
Topic should match with your main idea
Use only single sentence
Explain topic sentence clearly, so that your audience will understand it.
It should also contains the nature vs. nurture essay sample
Aims of Nature vs. Nurture Essay
To be able to describe at least one study which supports the both nature and nurture.
The essay should be easily identify the applications and problems which relates to the topic.
The essay should evaluate the topic
Nature vs. nurture essay should be able to understand the meaning of nature and nurture and the ways to identify the assumptions.
Try to explain each point with examples for the better understanding
Maintain a flow in the whole essay
Outline of nature vs. nurture essay
The outlines of nature vs. nurture essay are:
Firstly, give a brief description of nature vs. nurture definitions and their importance.
Secondly, illustrate all the relevant studies which are part of nature and nurture.
Thirdly, compare and contrast the impact on the case studies in regards to nature and nurture.