Nature vs Nurture

Topics: Nature versus nurture, Intelligence quotient, Twin study Pages: 7 (1984 words) Published: April 17, 2012
Nature Vs. Nurture Essay, Research Paper

The nature versus nurture debate has been a classic controversy among experts for centuries. Presently, there is no clear conclusion to the dispute; yet, there are many hypotheses. Both sides of this controversy have been explored thoroughly among researchers. The purpose of this paper is to prove that the mental aptitude of a person is determined by his genetics, along with his environment, which affects it more.

The nature side of the debate argues that a person maintains his mental ability only based on what he is born with genetically. Defending this side of the debate exclusively would be establishing that a person?s environment plays no role in determining his mental aptitude.

There are some reasons for an individual to be convinced that genetics play a large part in a person?s intelligence. When considering the biology of heredity, it is obvious that genes provide humans with their own physical equipment, which is in essence, their basis. Genes and chromosomes are passed on from each generation to the next. Therefore, without heredity, humans would have nothing to hand down biologically to their descendants; and this idea of genetics being purposeless is clearly incorrect.

Twin studies are rendered on sets of twins; these include both identical twins and fraternal twins. They are conducted to determine the comparative influence of heritability and environment (Morris and Maisto 82).?These studies determine the heritability of a trait: to what extent the differences among individuals are due to genes, rather than to environmental factors such as upbringing, nutrition, and schooling? (Wright). ?Recent twin research showed that the genetic contribution to happiness and stability are about 50% and 80%, respectively, while life events have only a transitory effect on happiness? (Segal 55). Segal?s conception is not directly concerning human intelligence; yet, if his statement is in fact true, it substantiates some importance of heredity convincingly. It indicates that heredity certainly does have a notable effect on a person. In general, twin studies support the nature side of the debate (Morris and Maisto 82).

Adoption studies are somewhat similar to twin studies because they are conducted for related reasons. These studies consist of monitoring and testing children who are adopted. For them, researchers study the IQs in children, their birth parents, and their adoptive parents. These studies also partially support the nurture side of the debate. Some of these studies have shown that heritabilty is about 48% influential in most humans (Hamer and Copeland 219).

Conversely, many investigations have shown that a person?s environment plays a large role in his mental aptitude. This may be the less obvious influential factor on one?s life. Though, considering the enormous result of a human?s surroundings and environment on his life, an in depth investigation should be taken examining this notion.

The amount of nourishment an individual receives has been proven to play a very large part in a person?s mental ability. This is especially true concerning infants and young children. The human brain critically needs nutritious food and antitoxins to function properly, particularly in early years of development. Starving people across the globe show why lack of nutrients in human bodies can stunt mental evolution as well as physical growth. ?What a premature infant eats in the first month of life can have lasting intellectual impact?a new study finds? (Raloff).

A study done in Great Britain in the late 1980s shows that nutrition plays a very large role in a person?s development. Adolescents aged twelve to thirteen were given vitamin and mineral supplements for eight months. These subjects were then administered intelligence tests. Test scores were recorded before the test and after the test. These scores were also compared to other adolescents who were not given the...

Cited: Dempsey, David, and Philip G. Zimbardo. Psychology & You. United States of American: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1978.
Hamer, Dean, and Peter Copeland. Living With Our Genes: Why They Matter More Than You Think. New York: Doubleday, 1998.
Herrnstein, Richard J., and Charles Murray. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. New York: The Free Press, 1994.
Kagan, Jerome, and Earnest Havermann. Psychology: An Introduction. 4th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, Inc., 1980.
Morris, Charles G., and Albert A. Maisto. Psychology: An Introduction. 10th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1999.
Rogers, Jessica. ?Are First Borns Smarter?? Psychology Today Dec. 2000: 20.
Segal, Nancy L., Ph.D. ?New Twin Studies Show?? Psychology Today Oct. 1999: 54-59 and 69-70.
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