What makes a person exhibit the tendencies that define his or her existence? Is it the natural chemical balances and imbalances that one is born with? Or could it be the way they breathe in the life around them engrained in their mind from those who care for them? In other words, does the fact that I was born with red hair increase my tendency towards a hot temper or is my level of temperament based upon the environment which I was raised in? The age-old question regarding nature and nurture can be argued either way and has by countless learned and brilliant people.
Some developmental psychologists believe it is strictly genes that affect our ways of life, while others believe it is the environment that influences us. Examples are aplenty supporting both sides, which we will discuss further. The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature," i. e. nativism,) versus personal experiences ("nurture," i. e. empiricism or behaviorism) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits. (Bee and Boyd, 2010, p. 2and3).
At the center of the debate, human behaviors, ideas, and feelings are being determined, whether they are learned or inherited. Determining physical traits, such as eye color, are simple because they are hereditary traits. The idea of having a certain personality, intelligence, or ability is under discussion because scientists can not determine if these traits are learned, or predetermined by genes. The nature side of the debate argues that human behaviors are formed based on genetics, as well as, other internal variables that influence development.
Some among those include maturation ( a consecutive pattern of genetic change which happens to every child regardless of the influence of their environment such as walking, p. 5) ,sensitive periods (the best time when something can be done to enhance a child’s experience and better develop the maturational process, such as teaching children to speak and understand languages primarily during the time of infancy and early childhood,p. 5) , inborn biases (“preexisting conceptions “or restrictions on the way a child understands how objects work which enables development to occur p. ), and nonnormative changes (individual differences such as eye color and body type, p. 5). According to the opinion of the nature side our genes primarily makes us the people we become. The way we develop results from our genetics rather than from our environment. We receive both negative and positive traits from our parents, which we need to live with and learn to adapt to. For example, I am naturally an outgoing and giving extrovert like both my parents because these characteristics were given to me genetically.
However I am also more prone to certain hereditary diseases ,such as Colitis. “Idealists”, such as Plato and Rene Descartes. , who favor the theory that an individual’s environment plays no role in determining his or her physiological and intellectual ability use biological explanations to understand a child’s behavior and his environment.. The faction in favor of the nature side views stages as continuous and therefore emphasizes the quantitative aspects of development.
Developmental psychologists that advocate the continuous model describe development as a relatively smooth process, without sharp or distinct stages, through which an individual must pass. (Bee and Boyd 2010 p. 3&4) Conversely the nurture side of the debate argues that a person’s environment plays a large role in determining his or her physiological and intellectual ability.. External variables that affect characteristics in the development of a child include behaviors and characteristics of the physical environment such as family, school, neighborhood, and other cultural influences that together effect development.
Psychologist that favor the nurture side use experimental explanations of age-related change and propose stage models to explain developmental changes relating to a child’s in relation to his environment Supporters of the discontinuous model describe development as a series of discrete qualitative stages, each of which is characterized by at least one task that an individual must accomplish before progressing to the next stage.
The view that humans acquire all or almost all of their behavioral traits from "nurture" was termed tabula rasa ("blank slate") by philosopher John Locke, and proposes that humans develop from environmental influences. (p. 3) , Psychologist John B. Watson, another strong proponent of environmental learning, “coined” a new term behaviorism or the way a child’s character and attitude develop based on his physical environment and surroundings to further emphasize Locke’s theory that child development is based primarily on the nurture aspect of their life . p. 3) Watson once said, “Give me a dozen healthy infants and my own specific world to bring them up in, and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select-. ”(p. 3). Both sides of the controversy have been explored thoroughly among scientists, and overwhelming evidence has been found in favor of both hypotheses.
In this notorious disagreement, the most compelling argument suggests that an individual develops his or her behaviors, values, intelligence, and personality based on both his or her genetic make-up and the environment which he or she lives and grows up in. Among the philosophers who believe that the development of a child results from nativism and empiricism include the Christians. According to Bee and Boyd, the Christians believe that a child is born with a selfish inclination and therefore needs to be baptized or as the book calls it “spiritually reborn”, so they can have access to the Holy Spirit.
Only then can the child start to develop good characteristics and work to conduct himself or herself according to the standards of society with the help of the church and their parents ( Bee and Boyd ,p3) Theoretical models explain how both, external and internal variables, interact with eachother The internal models of experience are assumptions a child makes about the world, himself, and relationships with others based on his or her past experiences which form the way a child relates and interprets new experiences.
One example of a stage model is the psychosexual development model, presented by Sigmund Freud, which, theorized that children systematically move through oral, anal, phallic, and latency stages before reaching mature adult sexuality in the genital stage. Freud believes that human nature contains powerful uncontrollable innate drives and repressed memories. The only way that these can happen is by nurture, because of some of the innate drives have been brought up through one's upbringing.
In a way Freud's point of views are definitely supported by both nature and nurture. Another reason for this is because if you look at just Freud's Psychoanalytic Perspective they too support both. As an example look at the id, the id is all due to nature, the reason being because hunger, thirst, sex and aggression is in nature. But if you look at superego, you find out that it is supported by nurture for the simple fact that the superego is brought through the upbringing by the training of the child.