Nature > Nurture

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Nature and Nurture is a highly debated topic on the development of a person’s behaviour and decision-making. John Locke’s quote “Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void of all characters, without any ideas. How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE,” is in reference to the nature vs. nurture debate. Locke is supporting the argument of ‘nurture,’ that is, we are born as ‘white paper, void of all characters,’ to which we become ‘furnished’ from the people who surround us, the institutions we live in and our environments that form the basis of who we are. By fully supporting the nature argument, Locke is directly stating that nurture, the hereditary information encoded in a person from birth has no influence whatsoever in a person’s development and that it is entirely nature-responsible. To disprove Locke’s argument and prove that it is in fact a mix of both nature and nurture in human development, the example of Anti-social behaviour is used. The three main arguments of a cross-sectional study of identical and non-identical twins, the cause of anti-social behaviour and Adoption studies will be used to shed strong doubt on Locke’s ideology that Nurture is the only influence in Anti-social behaviour. The features of anti-social behaviour include ‘hyperactivity-inattention, novelty- or sensation-seeking, impulsivity, low physiological reactivity, and cognitive impairment,’ (Locke) and Locke supports his argument that Nature is the cause for this through such theories as Piaget’s social cognitive development theory stating that encouragement from parents can develop a child’s attitude towards things such as praising them for taking their first steps which encourages them to do it again. The first line of evidence supporting ‘Nature’ concerning identical or monozygotic twins, challenges Locke’s argument that ‘nurture’ is the only influential factor in development. The cross-comparison of over 800 sets of identical and 800 sets of non-identical dizygotic twins was conducted in Edinburgh university to measure whether upbringing: nurture, or genetics: nature has a greater effect on the success of people throughout their lives in reference to behaviours specific to people with anti-social behaviour. The study was led by Professor Timothy Bates, who quotes "Previously, the role of family and the environment around the home often dominated people's ideas about what affected psychological wellbeing. However, this work highlights a much more powerful influence from genetics." The reason that twins are used in this study is because they are traditionally from the same home environments and upbringing, but it is only identical twins which share the same genetic information and one hundred percent of their polymorphic genes. The study include questions aimed at determining key personality traits such as social skills, learning abilities, self-control and a sense of purpose, all key issues in anti-social behaviour, through application of a well-established psychological scale to measure answers. The researchers of Edinburgh university wrote in the journal of Personality, claiming that “Identical twins are twice as likely as non-identical twins to share the same personality traits, suggesting that their DNA is in fact more influential than their upbringing. Genetics were most influential on people’s sense of self control, and also affected their social and learning abilities to the same degree as well as restraint and persistence with situations when they got difficult.’ As stated by Bates, the comparison of twins with identical twins in regards to their social and behavioural reactions conflicts Locke’s argument of nature being more influential than nature, as it is disproved by the fifty percent...
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