Ethical Considerations Applicability of Child Development Theories

            Nature versus Nurture Theory

           The nature versus nurture theory of child development was a theory first conceived by Francis Galton  and refers to the way the environment and nature contribute to the development of a child - Ethical Considerations Applicability of Child Development Theories introduction. The theory considers the notion that though natural effects such as genes and other hereditary factors have a very important effect on the personality of an individual especially in their physical appearance, most of the individual’s characteristics that are most perceived as very important in the identity of a person are gained from the environment in which the person is nurtured in, especially in his/her early days. (Ridley, 2003)

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Many studies have been carried out to determine the effect of a child’s nurture on the child’s development. One such study has shown that identical twins brought in different environments portrayed a big difference in their personality including their accent, behavior, attitudes and beliefs even though they looked totally the same physically.

To further test the accuracy of the theory, some researchers have even carried studies that have shown that a human child is the only child of all the mammals, and most probably of all the animals, who copied most of the traits and characteristics present in the environment they were brought up in. for example, one study showed that a human child brought up by a monkey could be able to almost accurately jump from tree to tree just as a monkey does and could not walk upright once older in age. Such a child could also not talk, even after many years of trials to train the child in a human environment.

Ethical Considerations

There are many ethical considerations that a researcher must take into consideration while conducting child development research. In conducting any of the researches, the child’s interests must come first. The child should hence not be exposed to environments that interfere with their natural growth and development in an unacceptable way. For example, a test considering if a child brought up together with monkeys behaves like a monkey is totally against ethics if the child is to be physically placed in a monkeys’ environment.

Also a research must not put the subject at the risk of physical harm or death. For example, one cannot try to nurture a child in an aquatic environment in order to see if they behaved like a fish. Such a child is at a risk of contacting fever, pneumonia or other ailments that may even cause death.

Therefore, in testing the nature versus nurture theory and any other theories for accuracy and its applicability, there are extents that must not be exceeded, hence limiting the theory’s applicability.

Ridley, M. (2003). Nature Vs Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes us Human. London: Pitman.

Powell, K. (2010). Nature vs. Nurture: Are We Really Born That Way? Accessed from website on July 16, 2010.

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