Factor in Human Behaviour: What Was the Environment in Which You Were Raised

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Many may argue that the environment we live in and are surrounded by plays a big part in shaping and identifying behaviour. However others may argue that genes and nurture play a bigger part when it comes to determining behaviour and the influence it has on behaviour. Studies such as Bowlby's bodo doll study show how the environment and culture a child is put into determines a child's behaviour and attitude towards certain situations. For example, children who watch adult rated movies whilst their parents are at work may pull them towards violence which is due to nature more than nurture. Imitation also plays a key part when determining behaviour as typically children, may imitate parents and adults that they are close to which influences how they behave in the short-term and long term. Imitation tends to play a part with culture, class, gender, parents financial outcome and friendships. Many studies that we will go into depth later, show that typically working class boys turn to guns, violence and drugs, especially if they grow up around council estates and council housing as the determination and motivation there is low so people settle with violence to get money quickly or low payed working class jobs. There are many different approaches and psychologists that approach this question using their own opinion which will be discussed later on in this essay.

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Early psychologists have different opinions and approaches when it comes to the nature and nurture debate regarding behaviour. Psychologist Freud would booth sides of the debate as we have an innate drive know as the Id that influences behaviour however he would also argue it is mostly the environment that determines human behaviour. William James, a nativist, argued that higher creatures such as humans have much more instincts than lower ones meaning survival chance is higher and behaviour differs. Social anthropologists such as Mead and Faris argue it is down to culture that determines behaviour which ties in with the environment being an influence. Lastly, Behaviourists such as Skinner and Watson believe it is solely the environment that plays a part in determining human behaviour.

However with this debate many problems arise. For example, we may observe a trait such as a bad temper, which can lead us to asking the question, 'Where does this come from?' This then leads to studying the parents to see if there is any genes that may influence this behaviour. If we find that one parent, the other parent or both parents were aggressive or had a bad temper. This then leads to further questions such as 'Do we learn to be aggressive from parents?' , 'Do we inherit aggression?' or is it both. Furthermore, a confound occurs as we get both our genes and environment from our parents. So does behaviour ultimately link to our parents whether it is from our genes or the environment? The possible solutions to these problem is studying twins. If we study both sorts of twins, monozygotic and dizygotic, who have been adopted into 2 different families then the genes are shared, however the environment is non shared. Another scenario is if we study unrelated children who have been reared by the same family meaning genes are different but the environment is shared.

The argument for the nature debate is supported by behaviourists who look at behavioural genetics which support nature and disagrees with the environment determining behaviour. Behaviourists also use twin studies to remove confound variables. Monozygotic twins shares 100% of their genes where as Dizygotic twins share 50% of their genes. If Monozygotic are more similar than dizygotic on some traits then we have evidence for genetics being a major influence in behaviour. It is argued that twin studies that involve children who are reared by different parents tend to be better as it shows how environment plays a major or minor part in determining behaviour. This is supported by the study of Jack and Oskar. Oskar was raised by a German Catholic Nazi family where as Jack was raised by a Jewish family in Trinidad. They both shared similar traits and behaviours even though they were adults raised by different parents in different environments. They both flushed the toilet before and after going which to some this is seen as being abnormal to flush the toilet twice. They also both enjoyed sneezing in the elevator to startle people as it was a thrill to them. Both twins also dipped buttered toast into coffee, wore rubber bands on their wrists and hated floral centrepiece displays on tables. This shows that even if twins are separated into different environments it is their genes that connect their behaviour. Linking to the essay question this study disagrees with the environment influencing behaviour. Another example is the study of The Jim Twins who were separated at birth and reunited at age 37. Both twins had married a women called Linda and divorced her they also both has second marriages with women called Betty. The twins both participated in police training and worked part-time in law enforcement agencies. Even smaller details such as having childhood pets called Toy, having identical drinking and smoking patterns or having first born children called James Alan. These similarities also show how behaviour influences behaviour.

The nurture debate is argued by psychologists such as Freud and Bowlby who see the environment and parent upbringing as a crucial part as to what determines behaviour. Bowlby examines how maternal deprivation and social influence affects behaviour alongside anger and the environment a child is placed in.  

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