The Nature & Nurture Issue

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The Nature and Nurture issue has long been debated between people in the field of science. It is argued, that the human development, personality, traits and consequently actions are either affected by nature or by nurture. Environmentalists (like John Watson and John Locke) believe that a child can be shaped into whomever, by learning and effects of the external environment(nurture). For example, effects from events or certain experiences in childhood or the effects from interaction with family members, friends etc. On the other hand, nativists (like Francis Galton) argue that personality, and mentality are inherited genetically(nature). For instance, according to (“What Exactly Is Biopsychology?”, 2018) , a high level of dopamine inherited would result in diseases like schizophrenia and will have effects on the learning abilities of the person acquiring that level; a very low level might lead to Parkinson’s disease.

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To further support their argument that nature has the the superior role in one’s behavior, nativists did several twin studies where they separated twins at birth in which each twin would be living in a different environment. One study done at Edinburgh university, set out to try and find out how personality traits can affect a person’s ability in overcoming challenges.Genetics were most influential on people’s sense of self-control and also affected their social and learning abilities and their sense of purpose (Collins, 2012) The biggest factor we found was self control. There was a big genetic difference in [people’s ability to] restrain themselves and persist with things when they got difficult and react to challenges in a positive way (Collins, 2012)

Another study found out about three twins, David Kellman, Eddy Galland, and Robert Shafran who were separated at birth also and were each adopted by different families who never knew that their son had two twin brothers or that they were a part of an experiment. One of the brothers, Robert Shafran, was mistaken for another person (Eddy Galland) at college when soon enough it was discovered that these two men were twins and that’s when the the third twin reached out. It was discovered later that each of the twins were monitored during their childhood:They found out that they laughed talked alike. Their birthmarks and their IQs 148, were the same. They also claimed to have lost their virginity at the same age, 12. Hospital records confirmed what the boys already knew (“”, 2018)They shared the same interests, grades and sports. They even had the same birthday. Both having been adopted, they finally realized they were twins (2018)

On the other hand, environmentalists argue that for example, the intellect or mentality, academic achievement might actually be affected by one’s culture. For instance, according to the study of mathematically precocious youth, In the majority of countries more boys than girls scored above the 99th percentile in mathematics on the 2003 Program for International Student Assessment. However, in Iceland and Thailand, more girls than boys scored above the 99th percentile (“Some Arguments in Support of Nurture | Learn Science at Scitable”, 2018)This accordingly shows that genetics or gender really has nothing to do with achievement at math for example because if that was the case this difference would be so evident in all the girls around the world instead it’s the effect of one’s culture. Also, it can be argued that parents play a major role in a child’s development. Their attitude towards their children and the environment that they’re providing for example can be an aggressive and they can have an abusive relationship that can most probably affect a child’s mental health and behavior.

Child maltreatment for instance lead to that child having depression, or abusing alcohol when growing older, or can even result in that person having aggressive tendencies and be abusive themselves towards their own children. Further evidence regarding how the environment can affect one ‘s behavior towards something is the “Little Albert” experiment by James Watson. A baby was given rats and rabbits to play with whom he wasn’t afraid of. Then, Watson tried making a loud piercing sound every time the baby caught sight of the white rat which continuously freaked him out (“What Was the Little Albert Experiment?”, 2018). Watson concluded that not only were the emotions of the baby conditioned as a result of the experiment but also he also started fearing all white objects.


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New documentary is “riveting, deeply unsettling stuff”. (2018). Retrieved from

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