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Psychology of nature and nurture debate Essay

The nature and nurture debate investigates the importance of individual natural characteristics and personal experience in explaining the causes in difference in physical behavior. Then the question is; is nature more influential than nurture or vice versa. The debate explains that some behavioral traits are acquired naturally while others are acquired from experience. Physical characteristics are known to be hereditary while individual’s behavior and personality is genetic.

The debate has never created boundaries yet on what within us is described by the DNA and what part is through life experience, though it’s obvious that both play great roles in molding us. The nature theory of human development states that the way people behave and think is due to genetic hereditary while the nurture theory according to scientist, the way people think and behave is as result of education; they were are trained to do.

Both the theories are correct in explaining the development of human beings; “nature provides us with inborn traits and abilities and nurture takes the genetic tendencies and molds them as people learn and mature”(Fausto, 1992 p, 269). This is not the end of debate but scientists are ever trying to determine what percentage of we is molded by genes and how much by environment. Biological explanations associate human behavior with “brain structure hormones or genes”.

Development of brain structure is influenced by hormones which are instructed by genes, hence our behavior are genetically molded. In some senses the exact opposite of biological essentialism is the notion that the individual is a vessel waiting for culture and environment to fill it” (Dyer, 1977 p, 330). Socialist believes that human conduct is social in origin, that is individuals learn everything from environment as they mature. Gender difference is due to training and social forces with only sex difference being inborn. Gender difference is the biological and physiological aspects of males and female that makes each group distinct from the other in all species.

The gender difference in human beings could be as result of nature or environmental influence (nurture). Every time a baby is born, everybody would ask whether, a boy or a girl. This is to say that gender difference is evidenced from birth. The biological difference is associated with nature while the physiological difference in male and female is attributed to nurture. Psychologists believe that gender is influenced by environment; the way our parent, friends and relative treats us. “Our gender is consequences of the nurture we receive as children” (Deaux, 1993 p, 126).

Some human attributes are nature created (physical body), others are due to nurture (naming people) while others are either natural or environmentally caused. Many theories explain differently on the causes of the difference between women and men. Evolutionary theory of sex suggests that the gender difference has long way ranging from generation inheritance and environmental variability. The gender theory advocates that boys and girls grown in different families and cultures thus they learn much on behaviors and attitude from their families and society, hence gender difference are outcome of socialization.

Therefore we can conclude that gender difference is partially due to nature and to some extend environmentally instigated. From biblical readings, we learn that gender difference is God’s creation since he created a man and a woman in his likeness. Some feminist believe that gender difference is as result of discrimination of society against the female gender. Over time women have been oppressed, discriminated and harassed in many cultures. Men and women differ from each other in skills behavior and attitudes.

Most cultures have molded men and women in different forms with some cultures viewing men being great than women although this views are changing with socialization. Gender difference, is evidenced as people mature and grow under various environments. Various studies show that there in greater difference between men and women in places of work, abilities and adaptations to situations. You will find that in schools boys are better than girls in certain subjects such mathematics. Researchers believe this is due to ability of student but not gender issues as it is thought to be.

According to sociologist men are more aggressive, physically strong and are more likely to take risks than women. As result of men risk taking tendency you will find that their jobs are more risky than those of women. “Men are more aggression than women” (Secherpr& Constantine, 1993) and men are likely to show their aggression physically than women. Some researches show that women are also aggressive but tend to show their aggression in less physical ways. In most case you find that more men are convicted in crimes especially crime with violence than women.

In communication men tend to talk less in public than women. Men are shy when it comes to talking g while facing each other; that is, men to men and women to women perspective. It has been generalized that women are; emotionally expressive and responsive, more sensible to others feelings and pay a lot of attention on their bodies. Women also express more love, fear and sadness, laugh and smile more and “anticipate negative consequences for expressing hunger” (Kreeger, 2000 p, 25). On other hand men have been generalized to; express more anger, control their feelings and try to content with their feelings.

Many studies have been carried out on gender difference when expressing emotions in different cultures. The difference according to many is attributed to different “social roles that women and men play in their society” (Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974), status and power each group hold in their cultures. “Popular stereotype has it that women are more emotional than men” (Lippa, 2005 p, 24). Emotions people express is usually due to their relationship and interactions. Men and women tend to express varying degrees of emotions when under certain situation. Male players’ displays more masculine emotions while female players express feminine emotions” (Shields, 2000 p, 4).

Women are more likely to identify others emotions fast than men. Researchers suggest that, this woman ability is more innate than caused by socialization. “Women are more accurate than men in judging emotions meaning from nonverbal cues than men” (Lippa, 2005). Nonverbal expressions include looking on eyes, lips and eyebrows. Some scientists believe this difference is due to biological explanations while others suggest it as result of organizations of roles in the society. In fact, many researches finds have found very small differences” (Deaux, 1993 p, 126). Our bodies display many biological differences in mind both in metabolism and genetic expressions. Again it’s true that there is great difference between men and women in modern society, therefore these differences should not be basis for isolation of certain group. Even though, there exist gender difference in our societies every woman is expected to behave like woman and men as men.


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