The Seemingly Timeless Debate: Nature vs. Nurture

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A recent topic in our lectures and discussions has been the nature vs. nurture debate. So we should all know the basis of it, but I will run through it nonetheless. The driving question behind the debate is whether nature (one's genes), or nurture (one's upbringing and environmental surroundings), play the role of shaping who we are and how we behave. There have been many theories that have been derived to sway the scientific community towards one side or the other. One such theory, proposed by British philosopher John Locke, is known as tablula rosa. This theory states that everybody is born with a "blank slate", that is, they have no genetic makeup pertaining to behavioral tendencies or ideals. Basically, the theory states that our environment (nurture) is totally responsible for all learning and behavior.
This was a popular belief but as time went on, more research was done, test run, and experiments conducted. Studies conducted by behavior geneticists such as twin and adoption studies have come to show that genes do, in fact, play a major role in human development. Twin and adoption studies showed that even in brought up in different environments, twins could still maintain basic similarities in behavior and other psychological traits. Studies such as these and many others have now come to show that environment and genetics do indeed both have strong influences on behavior and other such traits. This can be exemplified by a recent area of discussion we had in our sections.
The Bogle family is a family comprised of life criminals. The question at hand last week was whether you could make an argument for either nature or nurture contributing to the offspring of the family having similar traits to their predecessors. There were many good examples for both sides brought up in discussion. For nature, the trait of aggression was posed to be a trait that could have been passed down through genetics. On the nurture topic, it was suggested that the children learned and or/were taught to behave in such criminal manners. From what I gathered, it is my opinion that both nature and nurture are involved in keeping the family "tradition" of criminality alive.

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This page contains a single entry by schae474 published on September 26, 2011 2:55 PM.

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