Example Of Research Paper On Nature Vs. Nurture

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Environment, Genetics, Nature, Nurture, Behavior, Human, Debate, Philosopher

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/24

The debate of nature vs. nurture conveys the importance of science and environment in shaping the individuals. The debate is fundamental to human beings as it determines whether the personality, sexuality and behavior of individuals are a result of genetic evolution or social influence . It is a proposed relationship between the internal biological factors and environmental factors, and the influence they wield on the development of human beings. Francis Galton was the first person to use the phrase nature vs. nurture influenced by Charles Darwin’s treatise “The Origin of Species” . While Galton argued that human beings are the products of nature, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis challenged that it is nurture that shapes the lives of human beings. According to the scientific studies, most of the individuals adhere to the thought that genetic composition is responsible for human actions.
Supporters of biological theories determine hold mixed views as it is difficult to prove that environmental factors have no role to play with the identities, actions and behavior of individuals. Moreover, environmental factors are uncontrollable. Since individuals develop into adults immersed the culture and the society, it is not easy to control its effects on individuals. On the other hand, various aspects of individuals encode in their DNA. The two central issues centered on the debate of nature vs. nurture are sexual identities and gender roles. While sex roots in the biological differences between males and females, gender perceives the social norms, roles and attitudes ascribed to the sexes . Differences in nature and nurture contribute to the differences in the causative mechanisms of the development process of individuals. According to famous philosopher Richard Lewontin, the analysis of variance indicates that nature and nurture undermine the causal mechanisms responsible for the development of individuals.
According to feminists and queer theorists, nurture has a prominent influence on the individuals. Philosopher Plato offered the right solution to the nature vs. nurture debate as moral character, which is the interaction between the innate nature and circumstances of individuals . Most of the philosophers refer to factors referring to environmental influence as family-wide variables, parenting practices and characteristics of communities. It is important to understand the issues related to genes connected with psychosocial traits while considering nature vs. nurture debate. The mechanisms through which environmental factors impact the gene expression present a new idea of research, which has not gained much importance. The importance of genetic and environmental factors depends on the social and economic status of the individuals. The concept of inheritance through environmental interaction supports the idea that genetic and environmental factors do not act in isolation.
Philosophers totally agreed on three views about nature vs. nurture in terms of assessing an individual’s intelligence. Nature in terms of heredity and nurture in terms of environment contribute to the intelligence of individuals. Heredity and environment interact in various ways. Furthermore, both poor as well as enriched environments interfere with a person’s intelligence irrespective of an individual’s heredity. Famous sociobiologist Edward Wilson stated that social groups adapt to their environment fundamentally through the evolution of natural selection and mutation . Such adaptation shapes the behavior of the individuals. Philosopher Descartes proposed that certain things exist, which are inborn and regardless of the environmental influence. Nativists who believe that the characteristics of individuals are the result of evolution claim that the differences in such characteristics are a result of genetic traits received from parents, which make each individual unique.
Leading philosopher John Locke proposed the term “tabula rasa”, which means that the brain is initially a blank state and it is experience that shapes the individuals. Theorist John B. Watson stated that training can make individuals do anything irrespective of their genetics . The most important aspect of the nature vs. nurture debate is the interaction between the two. It is essential to understand that possessing a gene alone is insufficient to develop the ability of behavior and attitude of individuals. For example, height is an interaction of nature and nurture. A child may inherit genes related to height from his parents. However, in the absence of proper nourishment, the child might not obtain the inherited height. Another example is that of the fraternal twins, who have remarkable similarities in terms of appearance though raised apart. In spite of inheriting similar genes, it is the environment that shapes their behavior and attitudes. Human brain is more open to the intelligence it receives from the environment.
Environmental factors, such as learning and motivation are responsible for promoting the performance of the individuals. Science tends to give more weight to nature as heredity is a scientific justification for various kinds of discrimination among the individuals. The scientific truth underlies in the notion of racism, which plays an important role in the nature vs. nurture debate. Various works published post 1960s, such as the Bell Curve have been emphasizing on the importance of nature over nurture in shaping the lives of individuals . The strength of environmental factors in shaping the characteristics of individuals differs from country to country. Over 60 percent of variation in an individual’s behavior depends upon his genes. With the discovery of new genes for virtually every behavior, the nature side of the debate has gained prominence. However, in the absence of certain environmental inputs, it is not possible to activate some genes. Similarly, some genes undermine the environmental inputs.
Instead of arguing whether it is nature or nurture that shapes the individuals, it is necessary to understand how various genes work alongside the environment to develop the individuals. It is the brain that determines the sensitivity of the individuals to the environment. The genetics and experiences of some individuals make them more sensitive to the influence of the environment when compared to others. Such individuals benefit greatly from positive environments. To ensure the survival of individuals regardless of their genes, it is important to focus on the environment. Irrespective of the genes, the socialization process aids the individuals to behave appropriately, possess required skills and hold the beliefs of the society . Genes alone fail to accomplish such process. An intellectually stimulating environment produces smart individuals when compared to an environment that offers no scope for development.
An adopted child is the best way to understand the debate of nature vs. nurture. While the child gains genes from one set of parents, the other set of genes provide the apt environment for the child to grow. In such an environment, the effects of heredity no way relate to the effects of the environment. In a relatively stable environment, both adaptive as well as non-adaptive qualities pass on to the next generations through various mechanisms that potentially lead to behavioral and physiological changes in individuals over generations. Changes originating from a social environment mediate through genetic mechanisms and reflect the behavior of the individual. Behavior in turn influences the environment. Famous philosopher Arthur Jenson argued that heredity accounts to approximately 80 percent of an individual’s intelligence . Considering the concept of reaction change, which implies that genetics limit the potential range of intelligent quotient, but environment, influences the shortcomings whenever the score falls.
Philosopher Thomas Hobbes emphasized on the impact of environment in the behavioral development of the individuals. On the other hand, Immanuel Kant, one of the leading philosophers proposed that human actions are dependent on the universal laws . According to Kant, there are certain grids on the human brain, which sort and organize the experiences of individuals, thereby shaping their behavior and personality. Philosopher Hume also believed that the brain, which emerges as a blank state at the time of birth develops and grows according to the environment the individual grows up during the childhood. Experiment and observation are the two primary factors responsible for shaping human beings. German philosopher, G.W. Leibniz argued that without the role of internal mechanisms, it is not possible to form judgments and beliefs based on mere observations . Though there is strong evidence that nature and nurture both are equally necessary for shaping the human beings, a majority of philosophers, sociologists and environmentalists have given credit to nurture as the element playing a primal role.


Keller, E. F. (2010). The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture. Duke University Press.
Ridley, M. (2011). Nature via Nurture: Genes, experience and what makes us human. HarperCollins.
Sternberg, R. J., & Grigorenko, E. (1997). Intelligence, Heredity and Environment. Cambridge University Press.

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Example Of Research Paper On Nature Vs. Nurture. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-research-paper-on-nature-vs-nurture/. Published Dec 24, 2020. Accessed May 19, 2024.

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