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Discuss the Nature Nurture Debate in Relation to the Development of an Individual

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The historical debate regarding nature and nurture has been going on for years and is still unresolved. Many theorists believe what we have inherited and our genes, makes us the way we are and how we develop. Other theorists believe it is the way we are brought up and our experiences, that make us the way we are and how we develop. Physical The way we look can be argued to be mainly due to nature. The genes we inherit from our parents make the basis of we look.

For example, people often say ‘Don’t you look like your father/mother! Genetic inheritance can determine our eye colour, whether we have straight or curly hair or how tall we will be.

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We can also inherit certain disease which can seriously impact on our health. However, we can make decisions on how we look and change our appearance. There are many different cosmetic procedures available to alter our appearance. How we live our life and the choices we make can also have an impact on how we look.

For example, eating junk food and not exercising can lead to obesity. The environment we are brought up in and the experiences we have, can influence our health which contributes to physical development.

An example of how nature and nurture affect our physical development is; we may carry genes that increase our risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but if we eat a healthy diet and get sufficient exercise, we may not develop the disease. The genes for characteristics we inherit are called genotypes. The actual express of these characteristics are phenotypes. The phenotypes are what decide our physical traits such as; eye colour and height – they can be seen. Genes we inherit can affect our health. For example, a daughter is more likely to have breast cancer if her mother has had it.

However, our life choices and the environment can increase our chances of having breast cancer. For example, if we smoke. Cheryl Cole’s mum has never had any breast cancer, so she may not have inherited the disease. However, the fact that Cheryl smokes can increase the risk of her getting breast cancer. In the argument for nature, a study was carried out in America by Dr. Stefan A. Czerwinski and his colleagues. They argue genetics have a strong effect on rate of growth, the size of body parts and the onset of growth events. In their study they “followed their subjects for thirty years.

By using such parental measurements as height and weight, these scientists were able to predict quite accurately the approximate height and weight of their subjects at the age of thirty. ” www. livestrong. com (2007) In the argument for nurture, environmental factors that can affect physical development include toxins and the climate, but the main factor is probably diet. The Minnesota twin studies found even identical twins who share the same genes can grow up to be of different height if they are raised in different environments.

Such environmental factors as nutrition can affect physical growth significantly. www. livestrong. com (2007) Cheryl is a slim size 8 and has never been obese. Both of her parents are also slim and always have been. It could be argued that Cheryl is slim due to the genes she inherited from them – nature. It could also be argued that Cheryl is only slim because she attends the gym regularly and eats a balanced diet – nurture. From a young age Cheryl’s parents encouraged her to attend dance classes as a form of exercise. Did this contribute to her choosing to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Or was she made that way? I think that being in the public eye, she is constantly aware the media will pick up on her putting on any weight. So because she has been in the public eye from a youngish age, she has maintained her slim figure because she doesn’t want to be critisised within the media and the environment she is in. Intellectual Is our intellectual development the result of genes? Or is it how we are brought up? “Nurturing has a profound effect on intelligence. The nature-versus-nurture debate is wrongly framed — biology matters, and so does experience. www. scholastic. com (2013) For example, when someone achieves tremendous academic success, is it because they are genetically programmed to be successful or is it a result of choices, encouragement, schooling and the environment? Theorists argue over which plays more of an influence on our cognitive ability. Nativists believe our intelligence is pre-determined at birth from our genetic inheritance although it cannot be seen until the child becomes older, as babies are cognitively immature. This is maturation. Environmentalists do not believe this.

They believe children’s intelligence is a result of what they have learned, from their interaction with the environment and at birth the human mind is a ‘blank state’ that experiences slowly fill. Environmentalists also believe that differences in are due to social class. Children in lower social classes are deprived of opportunities available to children in higher classes. “Several recent US studies have demonstrated improvements in children’s IQ’s by improving the lives of infants in disadvantaged circumstances. ” www. wilderdom. om ‘The US military tested recruits to assign rank and found that black applicants scored lower than whites. However, analysis of the recruits were found to be due to educational differences; black recruits scored very low until the 1950s, when an increase in score corresponded to improved educational standards for all. ’ www. thehumangenome. co. uk “Galton was convinced intellectual ability was largely inherited and that the tendency for ‘genius’ to run in families was the outcome of a natural superiority. ” www. simplypsychology. org Arthur Jenson found that the average I.

Q. scores of black Americans were significantly lower than whites he went on to argue that genetic factors were mainly responsible – even going so far as to suggest that intelligence is 80% inherited. www. simplypsychology. org Gessell came up with a theory called maturation. He suggested that developmental changes in a child’s body or behavior are a result of the aging process rather than from learning, injury, illness, or some other life experience. The maturation theory backs up the hereditary theory. Binet suggested intelligence was not down to nature, but nurture.

He designed tests that would assess mental abilities. However, he did not believe his test could measure an inborn degree of intelligence. It believed that factors such as motivation and the environment could play a role in what the test scores showed. Twin studies have shown that twins raised in different environments have similar IQs than fraternal siblings raised together, suggesting that nature plays a more important part in IQ. www. psyasia. com Cheryl Cole has stated she has never been the ‘brightest spark in the box’.

She left her run-down, poor school at 16 without any qualifications. Intellectually, she had said that if she had been helped and pushed through out her education, she might have left with some qualifications. Her parents went through life without having a job and were uneducated. This is where the nature-nurture debate comes in. Was Cheryl born with the same intellectual ability as her mum and dad as a result of her genes? Or was her intellectual ability poor due to the school she went to and the lack of encouragement and motivation from her parents and teachers.

I think that if Cheryl had attended a school where they motivated their pupils and encouraged them, she may have tried her school work and achieved more. Socio-emotional development This is our personality. Are our personalities down to the genes were have inherited or through socialisation eg our experiences in life? While it is argued both can be a factor in social and emotional development, factors such as where we live, our peers, whether we are rich or poor, our culture, whether we are male or female and our place in family.

Bowlby’s theory of attachment believes to ensure survival, a bond between a child and its mother must be present. The bond between the mother and child in the first 5 years of the child’s life is crucial to socialisation. He believed if this was not present, there would be a higher chance of the child having emotional difficulties and an anti-social behaviour. He believed nature played more of a part than nurture. Bowlby conducted a study on 44 adolescent juvenile delinquents in a child guidance clinic in London.

He aimed to find out if maternal deprivation had an effect on social and emotional development. He interviewed 44 adolescents who were referred to a child protection program in London because of stealing- i. e. they were thieves. Bowlby selected another group of 44 children to act as ‘controls’. (Controls: individuals referred to clinic because of emotional problems, but not yet committed any crimes. ) He interviewed the parents from both groups to state whether their children had experienced separation during the critical period and for how long.

Bowlby found that more than half of the juvenile thieves had been separated from their mothers for longer than six months during their first five years. In the control group only two had had such a separation. He also found several of the young thieves (32%) showed ‘affectionless psychopathy’ (they were not able to care about or feel affection for others). None of the control group were affectionless psychopaths. Another study supporting nature influences our cognitive ability more is the study at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, where more than 15,000 pairs of twins have been tracked over the past 10 years.

It found ‘that there may be a pool of between 50 and 100 DNA markers that each have a small effect, but actually influence our general cognitive ability. They have a stream-like effect, rather than one particular gene making you good or bad at sums. ‘ www. guardian. co. uk (2005) Bandura believed that behavior is learnt through the environment. He said it is learnt through observing others. To prove his theory, Bandura and others tested 36 boys and 36 girls from a nursery between the ages of 3 and 6. 24 boys and girls observed a female and male adult behaving aggressively towards a doll ‘bobo’. 4 other boys and girls observed the adults not being aggressive towards the doll and the other 24 boys and girls observed neither to remain ‘neutral’ (controls). The study showed children learn social behavior such as aggression through the process of observation learning – from watching the behavior of another person. This study showed that nurture has an impact on socio-emotional development. Erikson also believed nature plays a bigger part than nature. His theory is similar to that of Freud’s theory. He believed that children adapt to their surroundings and are curious.

He also thought that culture plays a part in how our personality is. Erikson’s psychosocial theory of development considers the impact of external factors, parents and society on personality development from childhood to adulthood. According to someone who believes nature determines behaviour, although a child may have had wonderful life experiences and a good upbringing, if he is genetically predisposed to violent behaviour, no amount of good parenting can alter that. According to newspaper reports, scientists have almost found a gene for criminality.

Cheryl Cole was brought up in disadvantaged conditions. She was the fourth child out of five and with little money available to her family, she often went without. This is probably why she decided to make a successful career. She wanted to provide for her family and give them opportunities they have not been privileged to have. The decisions she made in regard to this, support the nurture debate. Cheryl Cole’s is known to have had a temper. It was widely broadcast within the media; she verbally attacked and supposedly hit a black toilet attendee. Her dad was known to have temperamental issues.

Cheryl had seen this growing up. Her Dad had a criminal record and spent a short stint in jail before she was born. Cheryl also grew up on a rough estate in Newcastle. She often saw violence on the estate. Did Cheryl inherit her Dad’s temper gene? Or was it because she had seen her Dad and other people where she lived be violent to other people? Unfortunately, we will never know – however it is definitely a bit of both. Cheryl is emotionally a strong woman. She has had her fair share of ups and downs, although she has always managed to get through her problems. So has her mum.

Cheryl has always stated her mum is her ‘best friend’ and has always been there for her. Did Cheryl’s mum’s genes play a part in why Cheryl is emotionally strong because of the bond they shared in the first five years of birth? Or has all the heart-ache she has been through made her stronger? Bowlby’s theory of attachment could explain why she is emotionally strong, although it does not support the behavioral part in his theory. According to Erikson’s theory the fact that Cheryl was always rewarded when she did something well could also have had an impact on why she is emotionally strong.

Cheryl’s peers may have also had an effect on why she is strong. By knowing that she has support from her friends can explain why she is strong. This is not down to nature; she did not know she would make the friends she did. This is an argument for nurture. It is hard to determine what makes us who we are more – nature or nurture. Twin studies show this. Twins who have had the same upbringing can be different, but twins who do not have the same upbringing and are adopted can be similar. Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA) – An argument for nature.

In this study, researchers focused on the tale of identical twins who were separated at birth and adopted by different families. It wasn’t until they were 39 that they met, and they were surprised to find they both suffered headaches, bit their nails, smoked Salems, took up woodworking and even vacationed on the same beach in Florida. www. scpr. org (2012) The study by researchers from Edinburgh University also suggests nature has a greater impact on development. The researchers found identical twins were twice as likely as non-identical twins to share the same personality traits.

They said their DNA had the greatest impact. Research has demonstrated that genes can change, identical twins with the same genetic inheritance can turn out completely different and the impact of environmental influences can be passed down the generations. www. independent. co. uk (2012) Abi and Brittany Hessell Abi and Brittany are conjoined twins. They share the same body, but have different heads – they are separate people. Their parents have brought them up exactly the same, but they have different personalities. Cheryl is the only sibling who has made a successful career.

She has 4 brothers. Her youngest brother is not working and living off benefits. Her elder brothers, apart from one, also do not have continuous employment and go from job to job. Her brother who does have a stable job works in retail. Although theorists are still debating over which influences us more, all theorists agree that both nature and nurture have an impact on our development. The genetic instructions a child inherits from its parents may set out a map for development but the environment can impact how these directions are expressed or shaped.

Cite this Discuss the Nature Nurture Debate in Relation to the Development of an Individual

Discuss the Nature Nurture Debate in Relation to the Development of an Individual. (2016, Oct 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/discuss-the-nature-nurture-debate-in-relation-to-the-development-of-an-individual/

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