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Nature vs Nurture Debate Essay

In contrast to nature, the nurture aspect was originated from John Locke, who believed we are born with a tabula rasa (blank slate), and our experiences are written upon it. John Watson a behaviourist believed that we are shaped from our experiences, and from this he claimed that he could take a child from any background and shape them into whatever he wanted purely from social experience (Passer & Smith 2008. p 9.). These ideas appear to be too simplistic as there is more to humans than our environment.

Other factors such as our genes need some consideration, and you can’t change a person’s heritage. As we have seen, there are two different perspectives of how our behaviour may have been formed, and there are many other theories that have not been mentioned in this paper. When considering the debate it becomes clear that no unitary approach seems sufficient. Human behaviour appears to be influenced from both our genetics and our environment.

Therefore, we need to approach our behaviour as a product of our environment and genetics intertwining, or as David Lykken phrased “Nature via Nurture” (Ridley, 2003, p. 286). This concept states that neither nature nor nurture is superior over the other that they interact with one another. Matt Ridley states this as genes “are active during life, they switch each other on and off; they respond to the environment.” (Ridley, 2003 p. 6). References Germov, J & Poole, M 2007, Public Sociology: An introduction to Australian society, Allen & Unwin, New South Wales. Ridley, M 2003, Nature via nurture, Griffith Press, Netley.


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