Nature vs. Nurture is a widely debated topic in the field of psychology. Nature vs. Nurture explains the relative influences of genetics versus the environment in the development of personality. Nature is represented by instincts, and genetic factors, and nurture by social influences. Some psychologists agree with one side of the debate over the other. However, there are many psychologists who believe that both sides have an influence on the type of person we will become. Many studies have been completed to attempt to determine if it is in fact nature that influences the person we will become or if it is nurture that will influence it.
One study that supports the nurture side of the argument is that done by British philosopher John Locke. He believed that everyone is born with a Tabula Rasa, which is Latin for Blank Slate. He believed that at birth, the mind is a blank slate and that our experiences as we grow write on these slates. His theory states that we are born without knowledge of fear or the manner in which we should act. He feels that it is our environment that will teach us how we will act or behave. Thomas Bouchard completed an experiment on twins in 1979.
In this study, he had collected pairs of separated twins from all over the world. He then performed an I. Q. test on them. Identical twins scored within 86% of each other. This score was the highest of all test groups including fraternal twins and biological siblings. This study served as evidence that genetics clearly play a role in intelligence by proving that even identical twins raised apart from one another scored in the same range. Another study completed by Bouchard is known as the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart.
In this study, he had observed a set of male twins that had been separated for almost 40 years. Though these twins were raised in different households, their intellectual and behavioral similarities could not be denied. Though many twins that are separated grow up with some similarities, the similarities between this particular set of twins was amazing to say the least. For starters, both men were names James by their adoptive families and went by the nickname Jim. Both men married women named Linda and both later divorced and remarried women named Betty.
Each of the men had also had a son named James Alan. The similarities didn’t end there. They had similar medical issues, interests, and careers. Many who have reviewed this study feel that these similarities in twins raised apart can only be attributed to genetics. The Little Albert experiment conducted by John B. Watson at Johns Hopkins University along with his assistant Rosalie Rayner is another study completed to pick a side in the nature vs. nurture argument In this experiment, Albert was given a white rat to play with which would be considered a natural stimulus.
Albert had shown no fear of the rat, and had reached out to touch it. Later in the experiment, when the rat had been reintroduced to Albert, they had done so with a loud noise in the background. Albert had become scared because of the noise and would begin to cry. After many times of introducing the rat to Albert both with the noise and without the rat had become a conditioned stimulus. Albert had begun crying every time the rat had been brought into the room. He had feared the rat because he had associated the rat with the loud noise that scared him.
Therefore he had been taught to fear the rat. Watson had continued this experiment by showing Albert other furry things such as a black rat, a Santa mask with a furry beard, and a dog. Albert had also feared all of those things. It was then proven that Albert had been taught to fear. Through research, I was able to find a great amount of information that would support either side of the nature vs. nurture debate. This argument has been going on for over a century and will continue on. In my opinion, there is no “right” answer. It seems that the evidence is there to support both sides equally.
Nature affects us in that we will sometimes share exact characteristics of other family members. By showing that twins that are raised in different households and have never met still share similar interests and personalities are a perfect example of nature’s effect on us. Nurture is also shown to have a profound effect as well. The experiment of Little Albert and how the rat had become a conditioned stimulus is proof of that. Little Albert was taught to fear through the load noise that he had associated with the rat being introduced to him.
Nature and Nurture are both a part of our lives. No matter how much research is done, I feel that they will continue to be a part of our lives and continue to have a part in shaping who we are. Resources: http://iris. nyit. edu/~shartman/mba0120/twins. htm http://environmentalet. hypermart. net/psy111/naturenurture. htm http://psychology. about. com/od/nindex/g/nature-nurture. htm http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Little_Albert_experiment http://psychology. about. com/od/classicpsychologystudies/a/little-albert-experiment. htm.
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