The controversy over what determines who we are, whether it is Nature (heredity, our biological make up) or Nurture (our environment) is taking a new shape. Through the past decades, psychologists have developed different theories to explain the characteristics of human-beings; how we feel, think and behave. Usually, these theories were one directional in the nature / nurture question. Today, a new approach to deal with this question is emerging. This new approach finds a middle ground between nature and nurture. The conclusion that nature and nurture are complementary and work hand and hand to shape a behavior (a purposeful and meaningful activity) is not a compromise; it is a result of a vigorous study of each of the components of the equation of heredity and environment and their affects on determining one’s development and behavior. In fact, the more we understand about development and behavior, the more obvious it becomes that nature and nurture are similarly influences rather than determinants, not only singly but also in combination. Here below, I will endeavor to expose the leading theories dealing with the question of nature vs. nurture. I will also try to present the third, new-emerging approach meant to solve the mystery of “What is it that makes us who we are?”
“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
While nature has a single meaning, nurture is a broader term, which refers to upbringing, nutrition, and teaching. What’s the point? The difference between a simple nature vs nurture essay and nature vs nurture debate essay is that in another case, a student has to defend a particular point. The 1st case requires describing a chosen topic in details without forcing the target reader to take any of the existing positions.
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Defining Nature vs Nurture Essay
The definition is board, but if we speak about nature vs nurture debate essay, a student should focus on the environmental factors that influence the way people behave and act. It is about the gist of nature against the nurture conflict.
A writer should cover and describe the following elements that have a great impact on the growth and development of any person:
- Healthcare & Medicine
- Social status
- Food supply
- Love & Affection
- Shelter genetic disposition to criminal activity
- Family history of various types of addictions and abuse (alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc.)
- Mental disabilities
Nature vs Nurture Argument Essay: Sources to Use
Writing a more complicated paper of this type, nature vs nurture argument essay requires an in-depth research. It depends on whether the author wants to share existing information or offer independent findings. Primary sources are needed in every situation. Go to the college library or online to explore the sources related to your specific topic:
- Scholarly articles
Try to dig deeper into the science behind the theories mentioned in nature vs nurture argument essay. Focus on the role these 2 factors have in surrounding community. It will help to decide on the several great topic ideas. Modern scientific knowledge, powerful argument, and the usage of professional terms are 3 key elements to include in a paper.
Nature vs Nurture Debate Essay: Example #1
Explore the example of nature vs nurture debate essay – the recommended extract is from the work of one of the scientific schools’ top students.
The Debate Continues
It is possible to identify human physical traits as similar or the copies of the parents’ physical qualities. In other words, a person may have the color of eyes, size of lips, a form of nose, and thickness of hair similar to his mom’s or dad’s analogical physical attributes. Such things as personality and creativity may be unique. The surrounding environment and people living in it are the primary factors to influence the way personal talents form and develop.
The paper analyzes one eternal question in the psychology. Each of the discussed elements are defended by the powerful, credible facts that make it difficult to decide which role in the development of human creature is greater. Scientists break their heads against the wall trying to detect whether it is personal DNA that affects child’s upbringing and evolution, or a life experience, knowledge, and skills obtained during the period of growth. This research helps to understand the importance of both factors. The question is still unresolved completely because extra primary & secondary studies are needed to analyze a greater sample of population with the help of newer tools.
Nature versus Nurture Essay: Example #2
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One more example includes the description of each factor in its turn.
Nature vs Nurture Essay Representing Eternal Debate: Which Factor Contributes More to Our Development (Decide on essay’s title)
Genetic coding defines the personal qualities of each individual. It refers to the physical features that make every human being unique: shape and color of eyes, skin, lips, nose, upper and lower extremities, etc. What about personal qualities? When it comes to more personalized traits *intelligence, creativity, sexual preferences), coding of genes does not work.
The most provoking issue this nature vs nurture essay covers is the possible presence of the so-called “gay gene,” which proves that people with a homosexual orientation are born instead of turning to that condition. It contradicts the main beliefs of the opposing view.
The opposing view is nurture. According to this scientific theory, there is a genetic impact on the abstract, highly individual features of a person, but the environment plays a greater role in the formation of the grown-up individual. John Watson (source’s details) offered to include the environmental learning in the course of basic school. It is the dominating side in such assignment. If the person starts coaching a little baby since its birth to become one of the possible professions representatives, a person will manage to succeed in the particular field. The scientist claimed it is possible to raise the child regardless of its race. The author adds one more factor.
Another interesting thing to mention in this nature vs nurture debate essay is the fact fraternal twins have developed similar significant qualities in most aspects of life; the role of the environment is noticeable even in this situation.
No matter how hard some scientists try, they cannot answer the tricky question accurately. It looks like the nature vs nurture debate will last for ages, and more research essays are required to explore the rest of the related fields.
Things You May Add to Nature vs Nurture EssayTo refuse the offered points, in your essay, mention that pre-homosexual kids are more likely to become the victims of molestation. They tend to experience more cases of confusion. It happens when such kids realize their sexual orientation from the early ages, and it takes time to recognize they were born that way. This way, the author (Scott 1995) helps to prove the possibility of “hay gene” to exist.
Keep in mind the approaches to psychology to understand the problem better.
Nature vs. Nurture
Genetic & hormonal interpretations of actions
Innate drives of sex and rage
Schemes, perception, and memory affected by the environment
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and personal self-concept
Behavior is developed form the environment via conditioning
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