For millennia thinkers have argued over what determines our personality and behavior : innate biology or life experiences (pinker,2004). This conflict is known as the nature nurture debate. The nature only view is that who we are comes from the inborn tendencies and genetically based traits. Consider the scenario . you are at a restaurant and you see a young family trying to eat a meal. A two year old girl running in circles around a table and won’t sit down, despite her parent’s best effort . ou mention to the parents that she is quite active .
the exhausted mom answers quickly” yes, she was born that way”. other patrons of the restaurant might quietly disapprove of the parent’s inability to control the child. Chances are, the mom is right. The girl was probably active ,and there may be little they can do to get her to sit down. In fact, a great deal of evidence indicates that our personalities are influenced by genetic factors and remain consistent across the life span ( plomin and caspi,1999) .
The nurture only sides states that we are all essentially the same at birth ,and we are the product of our experiences. As we have consider, john Locke (1690;1959) popularize the idea that the newborn human mind is a blank slate on which the experience of life was written. This accumulation of experiences makes us who we are. This view means that anything is possible. You can be anything you want to be. this notion is very Western, very north American idea. It stands as the cornerstone of democracy, free will, and equality. (pinker, 2002).
Throughout this book, we will point out many cases in which environmental and genetic forces work together to shape who we are( ruther,2002). For example, in the process of learning and remembering, certain genes in the brain are turned on and off by what happens to us( kandel,2006). New connections between brain cells result from these changes in the genes. Consequently, the brains of the people and animals reared in richly stimulating environments differ from the brains of people reared in understimulating, neglectful,or abusive environment.