Some Big Issues within Psychology
The study of psychology is filled with controversy and debate. All of the uncertainties and unanswered questions even push interest in the field. These questions provoke deep thought about why humans behave the way they do, where we learned these behaviors, how we learned them, and more. However, almost all of the smaller arguments can be grouped into one big debate: nature versus nurture. It asks if the way we behave comes from nature – the genes we inherit from our parents when we are born – or nurture – the ways in which we are raised. There are plenty of good arguments and lots of different opinions on many questions derived from this critical debate.
The development of grammar in children is one such question. It asks if grammar is innate (nature) or shaped by experience (nurture). In other words, how do we learn to speak? I believe it is a combination of both, but with a very heavy influence from external experience. Obviously a child is born with the ability to learn to speak, which would be genetic, therefore derived from nature. However, the way he or she learns to speak, including language, accent, and habits, will come from his or her experiences. Children grow up learning to speak in the language of their parents. A child born in Mexico, to Mexican Spanish speaking parents, is not going to naturally understand American English. Accents are similarly acquired through experience. American English encompasses the whole of English spoken in the United States, but it will sound different if you were raised in Wisconsin than if you were raised in Texas. A person will tend to use different terms and words sound different based on what they grew up hearing. One example is the classic bubbler versus water fountain debate. Being born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin, I will always insist that it is a bubbler. You throw pennies at a water fountain! But during my travels to other places, I have met people that have never...
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