boli0119: November 2011 Archives

Traits- Nature vs. Nurture

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While reading chapter fourteen in our course text book, I came across some facts that I thought to be very interesting. The University of Minnesota conducted a very interesting investigation over a span of two decades. This study looked at about 130 pairs of twins that had been separated at birth. The results that they obtained shocked me.
The pairs of twins that shocked me most were the male identical twins who had both been named Jim by their adoptive parents. This is not the only strange thing, they also constructed similar looking tree houses in their backyards, had dogs named "Toy", and both married twice to women named Linda and Betty. Is this just some weird coincidence? or does it have a deeper meaning behind it?
I believe that this is no coincidence. What are the chances? This is not the only pair of twins they found odd coincidences between. Beyond this pair, the book discusses many other curious similarities between reared apart twins. So does this tell us that surroundings shared between twins plays a more decreased role among twins than we originally thought? When comparing the traits of twins reared together and twins reared apart, the correlation doesn't differ much. So this does confirm that shared environment has little to nothing to do with adult personality. However, this doesn't mean that it has no impact on personalities of children. Children raised in similar atmospheres may have like traits, but as they grow older, these traits generally weaken.
So does this infer that some traits are genetic? I believe so. I believe that some traits are influenced by genetics and certain environments and situations cause these traits to surface and develop our personalities.

The topic of our recent psychology discussion, Can the media influence children in negative ways? The answer to this can vary from study to study. In class, we viewed a video of children shown two different movies. In the first movie, they were shown Barney. The children in this movie were shown singing happily about sharing and having respect for one another. The children watching this seemed to imitate them by playing nicely and quietly. In the other movie, Power Rangers, the "good guys" were shown fighting, punching, and defeating the "bad guys" and it was shown to the children as positive actions. This caused the children to slowly begin to pretend they were the Power Rangers, kicking and hitting one another.

Although this "violence" appeared to be mainly pretend and recreational, does it still have an effect on how the children would approach certain situations? There are two sides to this.

Some researchers take the side that media does have an influence. Art Mackman wrote an article siding with this perspective. He describes a study that showed increased arousal and energy in the brain when one plays a violent video game. However, challenging this, does this activity have a direct link to aggression? When we simply play a game of basketball we have increased arousal and energy. So would this mean that the sport is making us more aggressive? I don't believe this. However, I do not fully side with the idea that media has absolutely no influence on behaviors. In another article, by CJ Ferguson, he explains a study that he did which measured the amount of violent crimes that young people, ages 10 to 14, committed after a month of playing violent video games. I wouldn't conclude that from one month long study, you could determine if video games had any effect on someone. Furthermore, since the study was on young people and not "children", they are more capable of knowing what already isn't socially acceptable when it comes to violence. I feel that it is too late of an age to manipulate their behaviors.

I tend to fall in between the two sides to this debate. I believe that if children grow up around violent video games and shows, they will be more capable of reacting to situations violently than a child who hasn't had much experience with this type of media.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by boli0119 in November 2011.

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