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Reflection About Nature Vs Nurture Theories

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Various scientists believe that we as humans behave the way we do because of our genetic structure or primal instincts. Otherwise known as nature theory, while other scientists believe the way we think and behave is learned. This is known as the nurture theory. Some believe that both of these theories are factors in the way we behave or act. Recently it has been acknowledged and declared that both sides are relatively correct. Nature grants us natural abilities and traits passed down through genetics. While nurture will take our genetic abilities, and form them as we grow taking patterns from our environment as we mature.

The nature theory of human behavior is basically how we are wired from birth. Some believe that all our characteristics are established only from nature, these people are Nativists. Though it is true that we inherit our genetic features from nature, these include our height, hair color and texture, eye color, skin color, and various other factors encoded in the cells, we also get our personality traits which are shown later on as we mature. It is said that the more complex traits known as intelligence, sexual orientation, aggression, and our personality are encoded in our DNA. An article from 1998 from the LIFE magazine “were you born that way” by George Howe Colt, said that new studies showed it’s mostly in our genes. Scientists have carried out experiments, one that consists of both fraternal twins brother and sister and non-twin brother and sister. Noting that when kept apart fraternal twins have striking similarities to identical twins, this proves and confirms how genetics play a part in the way we act and that our genes serve as a strong factor in our behavior.

The Nurture theory of human behavior is said to be influencing aspects in the environment along with things or people we are exposed to. Unlike Nativists, Empiricists believe that when we are born our mind is a clean slate and the characteristics we develop are from the experiences we have in life and our surroundings. They also believe that a person can adopt or alter any behavior based on how they are conditioned. Attachment is also said to be formed by nurture, an example of this would be the foundation of love and attention a child receives which is a direct form of attachment. If a child does not receive love and attention then they will not develop the attachment sentiment. It is realized that language and aggression are also learned from our environment by imitating and perceiving others’ behaviors. The experiment with the fraternal twins has factored in the nurture theory. Even though they have similar behaviors once raised apart, the environment played a key factor significantly influencing them which resulted in notable differences.

Environmental learning is said to play a contributing role in how we behave and this is how according to the American psychologist John Watson also known for his controversial experiments with the young orphan named Albert, feels that our behavioral traits are outcomes of our surroundings and experiences. It is also said he could condition a new behavior or alter an already learned behavior that might be considered unwanted. American psychologist John Watson also believed that he could choose one baby out of a group of twelve and raise that child to become anything despite its interests or potentialities. The Harvard psychologist B. F Skinner experimented with pigeons and produced them to dance, do figure eights, and play tennis. He also went on to prove that humans’ behavior could be conditioned very much like animals.

My thoughts on Nature vs Nurture are clear, I believe in and agree with both theories in the fact that genetics from nature and our surroundings and who we grow around from nurture impacts our overall behavior and mental health. Both factors play a big role in our lives and I prefer not to choose one side over the other because they both work in complex ways together. In most cases, there are always certain factors that trigger certain characteristics or attributes towards development. It is said that we can condition ourselves or be conditioned to act the particular way that was taught to us by our parents to behave in and along those ways. Although I am convinced to believe the ways in which we act are caused by genetics or have been taught to us by the people we surround ourselves with. Certain experiences within the environment can cause us to develop new or alter our existing characteristics. In conclusion, Nature vs Nurture are both extraordinary influences on any individual life and it is evident that both of these factors play major roles in behavioral development.     

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