Nature vs. Nurture

Nature refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that define who we are—from our physical appearance to our personality characteristics.

Nurture are causes of behaviours that are environmental, which means the influence is from parents, siblings, family, friends and all other experiences to which the individual is exposed to.


Nature versus Nurture is the issue of the degree to which heredity and environment influence human behavior and development. Now, the question is which is the more dominating factor in human life?

Some philosophers such as Plato suggested that certain things in human are inborn, or that they occur naturally regardless of environmental influences.

On the other hand, philosophers John Locke independently thought Human’s are born a clean slate (tabula rasa) and are taught morality and all knowledge by society.

20th century behavioral psychologist John Watson shared a similar perspective, believing that the events that take place during early childhood have far more influence on what kind of adults we become compared to the effects of our genes.

Charles Darwin said that the process of natural selection shapes behaviours as well as physical characteristics.  Evolutionary adaptations contribute to the fitness and survival of individuals

Anthropological Evidence against Nature theories

The second argument uses anthropological evidence. Anthropologists are people who study and compare societies from all over the world. If our behavior was in our genes then people all around the world would behave in the same way. This is because other than the external physical difference between humans, the actual biological difference between people from different parts of the world is tiny. However, anthropologists show that people behave differently in different societies.

Tribal societies with different norms and values are good evidence against nature theories of behavior

On the other hand, nativist theory within psychology is Chomsky’s concept of a language acquisition device. According to this theory, all children are born with an instinctive mental capacity that allows them to both learn and produce language.

Some characteristics are tied to environmental influences. How a person behaves can be linked to influences such as parenting styles and learned experiences. For example, a child might learn through observation and reinforcement to say “please” and “thank you”. Another child might learn to behave aggressively by observing older children engage in violent behavior on the playground.

In social psychology, researchers might conduct studies looking at how things such as peer pressure and social media influence behaviors, stressing the importance of nurture.

Intelligence: Nature or Nurture

Sir, Francis Galton, who was the first psychologist to see a relationship between nature and nurture, where he believed that intelligence was something that was actually passed from generation to generation but he also thought that there was another influencing factor, namely the environment.

Inherited genetic factors the person was born with and environmental issues when it comes to human development and the inherited genetic issues that influenced it. It reminds of writing a cause and effect.

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