Many things affect people and how they behave based on genetics and what type of environment they are raised in. Part of a person or animal’s behavior stems from behaviors which are innate or what they are exposed to in life. Socrates is a dog who has a unique mutation where he also possesses human characteristics. Several events factor why he behaves the way he does through the abusive environment he lives in, and through his dog-like nature.
Socrates’ personality and behavior is partly influenced through the environment he lives in. In the beginning, environment plays a large role in developing Socrates. The reason he became mutated is because of the environment he was exposed to, which were the electrical X-rays at the professor’s house. The environment of the X-rays that Socrates and the other puppies were exposed to seemed to be the one that caused the mutation. Another factor that contributed to Socrates’ behavior was Jennings, who constantly surrounds him in an abusive environment. Jennings finds that Socrates is a unique dog and that he can learn tricks easily. In teaching Socrates, Jennings uses a system of punishments by whipping and beating on Socrates so that he will learn the tricks immediately. Through this environment, Socrates learns to continually be in fear of Jennings. If Socrates had lived with the professor, he would have grown to become better educated and taught more human-like characteristics. The professor would have kept Socrates away from any harm and shelter him from people like Jennings who want to have Socrates strictly for financial gain.
Nature played a big part in developing Socrates’ behavior. Even though Socrates possessed many human characteristics, he always had his dog-like nature. Socrates still kept his loyalty towards Jennings, due to the “man’s best friend” factor although Jennings always abused him. Even when the professor attempted to kill Jennings, Socrates was continually loyal to his master that he even gave his own life to attempt to save Jennings from drowning. Another characteristic of his dog nature is his sense of smell. All dogs have an acute sense of smell and Socrates was able to use that to his advantage to find the professor. He also could sense other things that humans could not, such as sounds and images that are out of our absolute threshold. While visiting the professor, Socrates was able to associate with other dogs, like Tess, and he enjoyed being in contact her since she is also a dog.
Behaviorists and Freudians would address the nature-nurture question in different ways. In a nature-nurture environment in a behaviorist’s view, the way a person is treated due to punishments and rewards. Through experiencing particular ways of punishments and rewards, a person’s behavior and personality is developed. In a Freudians view of the nature-nurture issue, expressed would be the biological factors behind the behavioral and mental process. Hidden conflict in the mind through a Freudian’s point-of-view would motivate much of a person’s behavior. Also the role of environment where Socrates comes into contact with different types of people such as Jennings and the professor, is an issue that deals with Freudian views. Freudians believe that who a person comes into social contact with can help shape a person’s personality development.