Nature vs. Nurture


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Upon listening to Kira and Ethan talk, I brainstormed ideas that are debated in society. In the science and psychological world, nature vs. nurture is a huge debate. I first started to learn about this in my AP psychology class last year. To just give you the jist of this debate, it's basically the study of whether or not our behavior/ personality/ and traits are affected by nature or nurture. For an in depth explanation check out this website on the topic from a fellow Penn State Student

One way that scientists and psychologists like to look at this topic is by studying twins. All sorts of cases have been looked at, fraternal twins, identical twins, and even identical twins who were separated at birth. In her article the students website, she actually talks about twins who are separated at birth. Although the twins are genetically similar (nature), if they are raised in two completely different environments, the twins will not like the same things, partake in the same types of activities or even like the same foods. All of these factors are focused primarily on their environment and the nurture and culture in their different homes. 

twins.jpg
A child who is raised in a home with extremely loving, caring parents who play with them, talk to them, sing to them as they change their diapers, etc. is much more likely to be a happy, healthy individual. Whereas, parents who deprive their children of this nurture and attention are likely to lack social skills, and many other prominent traits that parents influence. Take Genie, a feral child, who was a victim of extreme abuse, neglect and social isolation. I watched a video of her in psychology last year and it was absolutely heart breaking. Her parents locker her in a bedroom for several years, she was either strapped to a potty chair or locked onto her crib, enabling her any movement at all. She was rarely spoken to, which affected her speech. Genie is one of the most studied cases in the nature vs. nurture debate. You can learn more about Genie's life  by reading this article and watching the free documentary online. This was probably the most interesting topic and story we learned about and I strongly suggest checking it out. 
Genie_(feral_child).jpg
From much of my research, I feel as though nurture does have a strong effect on who we are. However, there are so many lingering factors in nature and science that have prompted this to be an ongoing debate for several decades.

5 Comments

While I completely agree with you that nurture plays more of a role than nature, I would like to play devil's advocate here and talk about the other side. Last year in my psychology class, we read about two twins seperated at birth. Both were named Jim coincidentally. Both grew up to own a dog named Toy. Both were married twice - to a woman named Linda and then to a Betty. Both had the same mannerisms, habits, interests, and quirks.

Check out this website to read more about the Jims or other twins seperated at birth! Its pretty cool!
http://www.illiteratewithdrawal.com/2008/02/nature-vs-nurture-twin-studies/

After reading that story last year, I found it hard to support either nature or nurture, because I think both play a pretty big role in every aspect of our lives! I really enjoyed reading your post. ( I studied the Genie story as well and found it really fascinating.)

I agree with the fact that the way you are nurtured totally shapes you as a person, however there are genetic factors to be looked at as well. I believe that everything we are comes from our parents, either from the way we were taught as a child to the genes we got from them. Here is an article on twins that were separated at birth reviewing the nature vs. nurture: http://www.npr.org/2007/10/25/15629096/identical-strangers-explore-nature-vs-nurture

I agree with the fact that the way you are nurtured totally shapes you as a person, however there are genetic factors to be looked at as well. I believe that everything we are comes from our parents, either from the way we were taught as a child to the genes we got from them. Here is an article on twins that were separated at birth reviewing the nature vs. nurture: http://www.npr.org/2007/10/25/15629096/identical-strangers-explore-nature-vs-nurture

Sam, that's so funny that you mentioned that because I read that same story last year actually! I found it truly interesting but I totally forgot their names, therefore I couldn't look it up and put it in my article. I do appreciate you playing devil's advocate! I remember my psychology teacher explaining how traits are somethine that are genetic and we cannot change. For example, an adopted person is not likely to be similar to his or her adoptive parent because his traits are genetic...yes, his values and culture will likely be like the adoptive parents, but traits are permanet! This whole debate has so many different parts, no wonder it is not proven to be one way or another. Thanks for the links Sarah!

It's so ironic that you mentioned the nature vs. nurture debate! I mentioned it in my most recent blog on what factors (other than worms, of course) can impact a child's intelligence. According to The Discovery Channel (link on my blog), environment plays a large part in a child's intelligence and development. Furthermore, I thought about my friends from high school, and compared those with healthy home lives to those with home lives which are not-so-healthy. I noticed that those who lived a happy life outside of school generally did better academically in comparison to those who didn't have it so easy outside of the classroom. Obviously there are many other factors that play into a child's academic success, but I wholeheartedly agree that the "nurture" side of a child's development plays a huge role in how that child does in school.

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