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Nature and nurture is a hotly contested argument concerning what influences the behavior and personality attributes of individuals. Nature is entirely dependent on the genetic combination of an individual which dictates their character and appearance. On the other hand, nurture is dependent on the environmental factors that an individual gets exposed to which end up shaping his or her personality. Nature and nurture influence individuals to a certain extent because individuals get exposed to both of them in one way or the other dictating their development process.
Nature principle holds that biological characteristics of individuals get inherited from the genetic makeup in their lineage. Character traits such as height, weight, vulnerability to certain illnesses and skin complexion are inherited and determined by the genetic combination of individuals. Such biological combination is usually similar amongst individuals who are blood relatives, and for this reason, they tend to have almost a uniform genetic combination. Moreover, other behavioral, mental and personality attributes are also a reflection of our genetic makeup and usually inherited from individuals’ close blood relatives (Kong et al. 2018). Through the traits, it is easier to identify closely related individuals just by looking at their appearance and conduct.
Besides, specific characteristics do not become evident during birth, and when a person reaches a certain age, for instance, during puberty, that is when the hidden attributes begin showing up. The biological clock guides such characteristics, and when the right time comes, the physical and behavioral attributes mature and become conspicuous. Such traits get programmed in a way that for them to grow visible, they will take a certain period to develop. Moreover, they are also dependent on other biological factors within our bodies for them to manifest. However, the traits still maintain the genetic combination and the similarity of a specific lineage.
On the contrary, through nurture, an individual acquires specific attributes from the environment that surrounds them. When a child is born, for instance, its mind is black and empty. It is through its interaction with the surrounding and the people around it that will make the infant acquire some of their traits through learning, observation and aping their conducts. In other words, nurturing is dependent on the environment, experience, and learning as the individual interacts with the environment with time (Vazsonyi, Roberts, Huang & Vaughn, 2015). The way an individual was nurtured or brought up will influence their aspect of child development. Maturation will only affect biological development. The environment plays a vital role in the development process.
Similarly, the type of relationships also plays a crucial role in the nurturing, especially during child development. For instance, an infant develops an emotional attachment to its parents because of the love and affection it receives. Moreover, children who are given proper care and affection will reciprocate the same while growing up. On the contrary, infants who receive harsh treatment from their parents will develop withdrawal symptoms while growing up. Also, the infants also try and learn how and what to talk by studying the speech of those around them. The cognitive development comes from the exposer that the infant receives and conditions surrounding it.
Correspondingly, certain traits are acquired based on what an individual went through. Children who got abused or molested when growing up develop specific antisocial characteristics, for instance, being high tempered, harsh and develops particular disorders. For example, bipolar disorders manifest because an individual underwent harsh treatment which affects their psychological stability after that. Some of them become abusers and molesters in their future relationships as a way of imitating and justifying what they experienced while growing up. Imitation is a way of implementing what the individual has learned during the nurturing process by putting the lessons into practice.
Striking a Balance
However, after careful analysis, psychologists have discovered that both nature and nurture are responsible for the development of an individual. Both factors interact with each other and play a crucial role in shaping up the conduct of an individual (Lux, 2014). For example, in psychopathology, it is argued that both hereditary factors and environmental conditions contribute to the development of mental disorders in individuals. The biological combinations of people closely interact with the socio-cultural set up surrounding them. Individuals are now left to make their own choices in dictating what is suitable for them and what should be left out. Nature and nurture complement each other in shaping an individual.
Conclusively, nature and nurture are broiling discussion, and both sides have valid points to justify their stands. Nature is purely based on the fact that genetic makeup influence how an individual behaves and thinks. Similarly, the natives hold that genetic factors dictate factors such as the appearance, particular illness, and intelligence levels. On the contrary, individuals who believe in nurturing hold that environmental factors are majorly involved in the development process of individuals. Children acquire traits through learning from the people surrounding them and will try to imitate the behavior after that. However, psychologists are trying their level best to strike a balance between the two school of thoughts since both sides hold valid arguments, but both nurture and nature interact with each other during the development process. Nature and nurture cannot get treated in isolation.
Lux, V. (2014). Nature and nurture. Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, 1225-1231.
Kong, A., Thorleifsson, G., Frigge, M. L., Vilhjalmsson, B. J., Young, A. I., Thorgeirsson, T. E., … & Gudbjartsson, D. F. (2018). The nature of nurture: Effects of parental genotypes. Science, 359(6374), 424-428.
Vazsonyi, A. T., Roberts, J. W., Huang, L., & Vaughn, M. G. (2015). Why focusing on nurture made and still makes sense: The biosocial development of self-control. The Routledge international handbook of biosocial criminology, 263-280.
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