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Nature versus Nurture Example Essay

Introduction

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Nature refers to all the hereditary factors and genes that influence who people are, from their personality characteristics to their physical appearance. On the other hand, nurture refers to all the environmental variables that impact who people are, including their early childhood experiences, how they were raised, their social relationships, and their surrounding culture. According to biological psychology, genetics and biological influences play a key role in shaping how a person develops. On the contrary, Behaviorism stresses that human behavior and development is shaped more by the environment. This paper argues that nurture has more impact on human development than nature.

As an infant, a human being experiences a ‘blank slate’ mentality where his or her thought processes have not been influenced by anything. From there, the identity and behavior of the person begin to form as they undergo various interactions and experiences as they grow. As such, Empiricists are right in their assertion that at birth, there is no endowed knowledge. “Instead, all knowledge comes through the senses, and mental development reflects learned associations” (Bornstein et al., 2013). Bornstein et al. (2013) further point out that sensations are naturally provoked in humans by external environmental stimuli. Moreover, individual raw sensations culminate into what is deemed “meaningful perceptions” through association. This helps in creating their behavior and personality.

The experiences one undergoes as they grow up, and not genetics, determine whether or not they suffer from health conditions or disorders in their adulthood. For example, two siblings who both have a genetic predisposition to depression may share biological parents but be raised in different households. In the process, one of them gets exposed to verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his caretakers while the other does not. In their later life, the sibling that was abused develops depression while the one who was brought up in a stable, loving, and caring home is happy and active. One of the siblings suffers depression in their later life because of the environment he grew up in although they both have brains that are more vulnerable to depression (Harris, 2011).

Similarly, an infant can be trained to become any kind of specialist that the trainer wants them to be irrespective of their biological or genetic influences. Since the environment dictates how the child develops, what they become when they grow up is not dependent on their potentialities, race, or talents. As pointed out by Bornstein et al. (2013), “emotional reactions are the result of learned associations between unconditioned stimuli and neutral events so that these neutral events come to elicit emotional responses through classic conditioning.” This is why a child may be encouraged to ‘work hard’ in school and become a doctor or engineer, for instance. It is also why it is said that there are endless career opportunities for humans and that what one needs to do is to choose on one and work towards it.

Furthermore, human behavior comes from the integrated point of view of cognitive, environmental, and behavioral influences. “Bandura’s work emphasized the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others from the assumption that most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling” (Baker and Brandell, 2013). Humans learn and understand how to do something by themselves if they see how it is done. For example, a person who does not know how to fish may know upon seeing another person fishing. It implies that the person keenly observes the steps involved in the fishing process and copies them. If learning was more genetically supported, a person may fail to do something even after several hours of watching how it is done. People may also not be able to change their attitudes as per their environment.

Finally, it is nurture and not nature that determines whether a child develops negative or positive behavior. A child may learn to act accordingly if their parents teach them to behave in a certain way (Harris, 2011). For instance, a child born left-handed may end up writing using their right hand only as a result of their parents’ persistent teachings. The learned behavior of using the right hand replaces the left hand as the dominant hand although the trait is left-handedness. This does not only change how the child writes but also how they use their hands. The implication is that children can be taught behaviors that counteract what they are born with. The potential influence of genes is stripped by this perspective.

Conclusion

Nurture is more responsible for shaping human development than nature. Children are born with a ‘blank’ mentality and they have to learn as they grow into adults. They have to acquire behaviors depending on the environments in which they are brought up. They can be taught to become various specialists and can also learn to do a number of things by observing others do them. On the same note, a child who is predisposed to depression by genetic factors can be helped not to develop depression by being raised in a caring environment. Thus, human behavior is learned and is not dependent on genetic or biological influences.

References

Baker, K. E., & Brandell, J. R. (2013). Child and adolescent psychotherapy and psychoanalysis: One hundred years after ‘little Hans’. New York, NY: Routledge.

Bornstein, M. H., et al. (2013). Development in infancy, fifth edition: A contemporary introduction. Oxfordshire, UK: Taylor and Francis.

Harris, J. R. (2011). The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

 

Nature vs Nurture Essay Outline

Introduction

Thesis:

Nurture has more impact on human development than nature.

Body

Paragraph 1:

As an infant, a human being experiences a ‘blank slate’ mentality where his or her thought processes have not been influenced by anything.

  • From there, the identity and behavior of the person begin to form as they undergo various interactions and experiences as they grow.
  • At birth, there is no endowed knowledge.
  • Sensations are naturally provoked in humans by external environmental stimuli.

Paragraph 2:

The experiences one undergoes as they grow up, and not genetics, determine whether or not they suffer from health conditions or disorders in their adulthood.

  • For example, two siblings who both have a genetic predisposition to depression may share biological parents but be raised in different households.
  • One is raised in an abusive environment while the other in a friendly environment.
  • In their later life, the sibling that was abused develops depression while the one who was not is happy and active.

Paragraph 3:

An infant can be trained to become any kind of specialist that the trainer wants them to be irrespective of their biological or genetic influences.

  • What a child becomes is not dependent on their potentialities, race, or talents.
  • The environment shapes their dreams.
  • This is why a child may be encouraged to ‘work hard’ in school and become a doctor, for instance.

Paragraph 4:

Human behavior comes from the integrated point of view of cognitive, environmental, and behavioral influences.

  • “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling.”
  • Humans learn and understand how to do something by themselves if they see how it is done.

Paragraph 5:

It is nurture and not nature that determines whether a child develops negative or positive behavior.

  • A child may learn to act accordingly if their parents teach them to behave in a certain way.
  • For instance, a child born left-handed may end up writing using their right hand only as a result of their parents’ persistent teachings.
  • The learned behavior of using the right hand replaces the trait of left-handedness.

Conclusion

Nurture is more responsible for shaping human development than nature. Children are born with a ‘blank’ mentality and they have to learn as they grow into adults. They have to acquire behaviors depending on the environments in which they are brought up.

 

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