Nature vs. Nurture

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When discussing the nature versus nurture controversy nature can be defined as one’s natural instincts and genetic make-up, such as “fight or flight” reactions and inherited physical traits.  Nurture is generally defined as the environmental influences that shape one’s behavior, such as parenting or teaching styles and one’s socio-economic and cultural background (Crandell, Crandell, & Vander Zanden, 2009). However, even with these definitions, the answer to the question, “Are humans shaped more by genetics or their environment?” is often controversial. Among social scientists, “…difficulties associated with the nature –nurture controversy stem from the fact that various schools of thought ask different questions…” (Crandell, Crandell, & Vander Zanden, 2009, p. 55). Without the agreement to the foundational questions to be asked, it should not be surprising that many in the field believe that both genetics and environment shape a person’s attitude and behavior (Crandell, Crandell, & Vander Zanden, 2009). The theory that best supports this learner’s view point is Urie Bronfenbrenner’s “Ecological Theory.”

Ecological Theory examines the relationship between the developing individual and the changing environment in which they live (APA). Bronfenbrenner states that “the study of developmental influences must include the person’s interaction with the environment, the person’s changing physical and social settings, the relationship among those settings, and how the entire process is affected by the society in which the settings are embedded” (Crandell, Crandell, & Vander Zanden, 2009, p.9 ). This developing process includes four levels that connect with one’s direct interactions, social environment, and surrounding culture.

The first level in the developing process is known as the microsystem. The microsystem is quantitative and includes the child’s immediate surroundings, family, peers, and school, all direct contacts that the child...
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