M1- Discuss the nature-nurture debate in relation to Individual development
In this assignment I will be discussing the nature-nurture debate in relation to the development of an individual.
What is Nature?
Nature In the "nature vs nurture" debate, nature refers to an individual's innate qualities (nativism). Nature is your genes. The physical and personality traits determined by your genes stay the same irrespective of where you were born and raised.
For instance, almost all children have the capacity to learn to walk, understand language, imitate others, use simple tools, and draw inferences about how other people view the world. Therefore all children have a set of universal human genes that, when coupled with a reasonable environment, permit them to develop as reasonably capable members of the human species.
What is Nurture?
Nuture In the "nature vs nurture" debate, nurture refers to personal experiences (i.e. empiricism or behaviorism). Nurture refers to your childhood, or how you were brought up. Someone could be born with genes to give them a normal height, but be malnourished in childhood, resulting in stunted growth and a failure to develop as expected.
The difference between the words nature and nurture is that nature refers to features and characteristics that are passed from one generation to another while nurture refers to the elements of practise, reference and care. While nature is concerned with that which is genetically acquired, nurture involves acquisition of skill over time. Nurture is developed from information accumulated from social and environmental factors.
Children’s experiences in the environment affect all aspects of their being, from the health of their bodies to the curiosity of their minds. Nurture affects children’s development through multiple channels: physically through nutrition, activity, and stress; intellectually through informal experiences and formal instruction; and socially through adult role models and peer relationships. With good environmental support, children thrive. Unfortunately, the conditions of nurture are not always nurturing. For example, children who grow up in an abusive family must look outside the family for stable, affectionate care.
How does this affect the behaviour and development of an individual?
Some behaviour more than others suit either the nature or nurture view more appropriately. The evolutionary approach explains behaviour as a result of nature. Bowlby (1969) suggested that attachment behaviours are displayed because they ensure the survival of the infant. It is also instinctive of the parent to make this attachment. By making attachments infants are set-up for later life increasing their chance of reproduction, therefore extending their genes.
Yet a behaviourist would state that rather than nurture, individuals learn to make attachments through classical conditioning. An infant learns that as attachments are made food, play and love is given, therefore reinforcing and rewarding behaviour. As an infant ages, they will learn through modelling that the more attachments made then the more rewarding and simply life can become (in terms of large friendship groups).
It could be said that stress is an adaptive response to environmental pressures. Animals which are born with out such responses (including the fight or flight response) quickly die. However behaviourists would claim that in certain environments stress is encouraged (such as some exam stress is seen as motivation). Therefore through rewards and reinforcement, individuals display and experience stress.
The behaviour of aggression could be explained in terms of nurture. Bandura’s bobo doll studies provide evidence that behaviour can be modelled and imitated through vicarious reinforcement, especially if the model is similar to the viewer in terms of age and personality. However nativists would claim that those individuals who become aggressive are