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The Effects of Nature or Nurture on Early Human Development Essay

Human development is a very complex process – from conception to death. There has been a long debate on whether human development is determined by nature or nurture. If their growths were all guided by nature only, they would all be born with a mind of “blank slate”. This means that they do not have any inborn ability to do anything when they are born. On the other hand, if their growth was determined by nurture only, it would mean that they were fully equipped with all the skills they need in their lives when we are born.

In other words, all the physical and mental skills they have right now would have been inherited from their parents and the environment they grow up in has no effect. This essay will focus on the effects of both nature and nurture on three major stages of early human development: fetal, early childhood motor development and learning how to talk. All of these stages are guided by both nature and nurture, and not just one. First of all, fetal development in a mother’s stomach is first guided by nature and continues with nurture. The hereditary information from both parents in the fetus is not affected by nurture.

For example, the gender, skin, hair, eye colour and general body size are genetically determined and have nothing to do with the environment that the fetus is in. Also, the parents’ pre-existing genetic health conditions might also affect the health of the fetus as well, such as diabetes. Once these information are set, the fetus continues to grow and many environmental factors affect its development. For instance, the health of the mother and her life style have a profound effect on her baby. For instance, a baby that began its life healthy at first might develop some birth defect due to the mother’s alcohol abuse.

On the other hand, a mother can reduce her chances of getting a fetus with birth defects by taking certain vitamin supplements. Once the baby is born, it starts to learn how to move its body parts. Most infants in the same given environment develop their motor skills at more or less the same order, such as rolling over, sitting without support, standing while holding on furniture, crawling, and then finally walking. This is because they are born with the same set of muscles and bones that they learn how to use – the “nature” part of motor development.

However, it is important to notice that the rate of learning these motor skills differ due to the “nurture” side of development. For example, an infant that practices walking with its parent may start walking on its own earlier than another infant that received no help. Also, an infant that receives much visual and auditory stimulation, such as playing with toys, develops its motor skills faster than an infant that received none. While the baby continues to learn how to move around on its own, it also learns how to talk – an extremely important skill.

Speech development is also determined by both nature and nurture. All babies that are born with no birth defects are equipped with physiological requirements for speech: lungs, voice box, and mouth. They also need a properly working brain and nerves to control these body parts and to mentally form sentences. These form the nature part of the speech development because they are the things that the babies are born with. However, they could be useless if the baby does not learn how to use them properly, and this is where the nurture part of the speech development comes in.

A baby that is constantly spoken to by others learns how to talk faster. In an opposite case, a baby that receives very little to no interaction with others may not acquire language at all. Speech not only involves talking, but it also involves very important social skills and body language, and a baby can learn these skills faster if it constantly receives proper stimulation from its caregivers. In conclusion, early human development is controlled by both nature and nurture – in fetal development, motor development, and language acquisition.

The nature part of development includes the things that the infants are born with, and the nurture part of development includes the environmental factors that the infants receive. Most babies are born with more or less the same basic requirements for life, but the rate at which they develop their skills differ due to the nurture part of development. Overall, nature and nurture cannot be separated because they depend on each other. WORKS CITED 1. Atkinson. R. L. “Interaction between nature and nurture” in J. Slaght. Reading and writing Coursebook. 2. ABOUT. COM http://pregnancy. about. com/cs/fetaldevelopment/l/blfolatefacts.

htm 3. Kidshealth from Nemours. http://kidshealth. org/parent/system/ill/birth_defects. html 4. Ludington-Hue, Susan. “How to have a Smarter Baby” United States and Canada: Rawson edition, 1985. 5. The Origin of Languageand Communication. http://www. trueorigin. org/language01. asp 6. Wikipedia. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Genie_(feral_child) ——————————————– [ 1 ]. R. L. Atkinson “Interaction between nature and nurture” in J. Slaght. Reading and writing Coursebook. P162 [ 2 ]. Ibid. P162 [ 3 ]. Ibid. P163 [ 4 ]. Kidshealth from Nemours. http://kidshealth. org/parent/system/ill/birth_defects.

html [ 5 ]. ABOUT. COM http://pregnancy. about. com/cs/fetaldevelopment/l/blfolatefacts. htm [ 6 ]. R. L. Atkinson “Interaction between nature and nurture” in J. Slaght. Reading and writing Coursebook. P163 [ 7 ]. Ibid. P163 [ 8 ]. Ludington-Hue, Susan. “How to have a Smarter Baby” United States and Canada: Rawson edition, 1985. [ 9 ]. The Origin of Languageand Communication. http://www. trueorigin. org/language01. asp [ 10 ]. R. L. Atkinson “Interaction between nature and nurture” in J. Slaght. Reading and writing Coursebook. P163 [ 11 ]. Ibid. P163 [ 12 ]. Wikipedia. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Genie_(feral_child).


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