The Effects of Nature or Nurture on Early Human Development

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The Effects of Nature or Nurture on Early Human Development

By | October 2010
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Human development is a very complex process – from conception to death. There has been a long debate on whether human development is determined by nature or nurture. If their growths were all guided by nature only, they would all be born with a mind of “blank slate”. This means that they do not have any inborn ability to do anything when they are born. On the other hand, if their growth was determined by nurture only, it would mean that they were fully equipped with all the skills they need in their lives when we are born. In other words, all the physical and mental skills they have right now would have been inherited from their parents and the environment they grow up in has no effect. This essay will focus on the effects of both nature and nurture on three major stages of early human development: fetal, early childhood motor development and learning how to talk. All of these stages are guided by both nature and nurture, and not just one.

First of all, fetal development in a mother’s stomach is first guided by nature and continues with nurture. The hereditary information from both parents in the fetus is not affected by nurture. For example, the gender, skin, hair, eye colour and general body size are genetically determined and have nothing to do with the environment that the fetus is in. Also, the parents’ pre-existing genetic health conditions might also affect the health of the fetus as well, such as diabetes. Once these information are set, the fetus continues to grow and many environmental factors affect its development. For instance, the health of the mother and her life style have a profound effect on her baby. For instance, a baby that began its life healthy at first might develop some birth defect due to the mother’s alcohol abuse. On the other hand, a mother can reduce her chances of getting a fetus with birth defects by taking certain vitamin supplements.

Once the baby is born, it starts to learn how to move its body parts. Most...