Both Nature and Nurture Influence Human Behaviour

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‛BOTH NATURE AND NURTURE INFLUENCE HUMAN BEHAVIOUR’

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines Nature as “persons or animal’s innate character, and innate meaning inborn”. This means that nature plays a large part in how humans inherit the physical characteristics of their parents, but also that their personalities and characters are predetermined by family genetics. The dictionary also defines nurture as “bringing up, fostering care” which implies learning and training to regulate or correct behaviour and thinking.

This essay will be presenting and evaluating the arguments presented by two psychologists Pinker and James and their theories regarding the influence of nature versus nurture on the development of human behaviour. This essay will also be looking at some of the theories on personality traits and behaviour. It will then evaluate and discuss the nature and nurture debate further from different areas of psychology to reach a conclusion from all the evidence gathered from research.
The debate between nature and nurture has a long history that has been vehement.
The current debate between (the psychologists) Pinker and James is a particularly bitter row, with their two books on the subject being recently released and going head to head.

The nature theory sees us as possessing inborn abilities and traits that shape our personalities. There are reasons why some people will believe that our genes play an important role in contributing to our intelligence especially when we consider the theory of hereditary (Gross 1992). Our genes and chromosomes are passed onto our siblings from generation to generation, so we can safely say that without hereditary we as humans will have nothing to pass on to our descendants. For example a child born to a woman with blue eyes and blonde hair will grow up having the same eye colour and hair colour as the mother in most cases. In his book “The Blank Slate”. Subtitled “The Modern Denial of Human Nature”



References: ▪ Bandura A., Ross D., Ross. S. (1961) Transmission of Aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Retrieved from the World Wide Web, October 20, 2004: http://www.garysturt.free-online.co.uk/bandura.htm. ▪ Carlson N., Martin G.N., Buskist W. (2004). Psychology. 2nd ed. Great Britain: Pearson Education. ▪ Gleitman H., Fridlund A.J., Reisberg D. (1999). Psychology. 5th ed. United States of America: W.W. Norton & Company. ▪ Gross R.D. (1992). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour.2nd ed: Great Britain: Hodder & Stoughton. ▪ James O. (2002). They F*** You Up: How To Survive Family Life. Great Britain: Bloomsbury Publishing. ▪ Heath et al (1989). Cited in Carlson et al (2004) pg 89. Psychology. 2nd ed. Great Britain: Pearson Education. ▪ Pinker S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature: United Kingdom, Penguin Publishers. ▪ Plomin et al (1990). Cited in Zimbardo P., McDermott M., Jansz J. & Metaal N. (1995) pg 445-448. Psychology: A European Text. Harper Collins. Chapter 12 – Personality and Individual Differences. ▪ Watson J.B., Rayner R. (1920) Conditioned Emotional Reaction. Retrieved from the World Wide Web October 20, 2004: http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Watson/emotion.htm ▪ Zimbardo et al (1995). Psychology: A European Text. Harper Collins. Chapter 12 – Personality and Individual Differences.

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