The nature/nurture debate related to factors

  • Created by: ClsxxDV
  • Created on: 14-02-20 15:33

Nature/Nurture debate

  • Nature - Physical characteristics which are biologically determined by genetic inheritence
  • Nurture - The influences that an environment has on an individual inlcuding social and envromental factors

Examples of biological physical characteristics:

  • Eye/hair colour
  • Straight/curly hair
  • Weight/height
  • Life expectance
  • Skin pigmentation

Examples of nurture factors that influence our behaviour:

  • Education
  • Parenting styles
  • Social class
  • Diet/exercise
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Stress-Diathesis model

  • Genes provide the instructions
  • Shows how genes program the chemical basis of our biology
  • Body shape and size as well as our behaviour are dependent on the intercation of our biology with broader environmental factors

Health and social care example:

  • Someone may have a genetic predisposition to cancer (Nature). They become a smoker (Nurture). Result in lung cancer.
  • Someone may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety (Nature). They do not experince stress, trauma or abuse (Nurture). They do not therefore suffer from anxiety.
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Nature theories


  • Bowlby's theory of attachment explains the bond between mother and child as an innate process


  • Chomsky propsed language li developed through an innate language acquistion device (LAD)


  • Gesell's maturation theory looked into children's biological maturation around the 1940's-1950's
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Nurture theories


  • Bandura's social learning theory focuses on the environmental influences children learn from including imitation and role modelling

Feral children

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Gesell's maturation theory

  • Looked into children's biological maturation around the 1940's-1950's.
  • "Normative approach" - observing large numbers of children to find the skills and abilities that most children had in each age group.


  • Indentifying norms or milestones for each development aspect
  • Children move through the sequence at their own pace
  • Development was predetermined and that the environment had little influnce
  • If a child experinces delayed developement then the issue is one of hereditry rather than the child's environment
  • Embroyo's heart is always the first organ to develop
  • Believed that individual differences in growth rates are a result of the internal genetic mechanisms
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Social learning theory

  • View that people learn by observing others
  • Explains how poeple learn new behaviours, values and attitudes. For example, a teenager may learn slang by observing peers.
  • Social learning is learning through observation. immitaion and modelling.
  • Attention, Retention, Reproduction, Motivation

Evidence for social learninf theory:

  • Bandura
  • Bobo doll experiment
  • Effects of aggressive role models on behaviour of children
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Mediation Processes

  • Proposed by Bandura

Four mediation processes:

  • Attention: Extent to which we are exposed/notice the behaviour
  • Retention: How well the behaviour is rembered
  • Reproduction: Ability to perform the behaviour that the model has just demonstrated
  • Motivation: The will to perform the behaviour


  • Attention: She observed her mother putting on makeup
  • Retention; She rembers that her mother puts on makeup
  • Reproduction: She has the ability to put on makeup
  • Motivation: She will put on makeup to be like her mum
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Mediation processes - Continued

However, Bandura stated that while these four processes explained how behaviour was imitated, there are other factors which can increase the likelihood of behviour being imitatted. We are more likely to immmitate behaviour if the model we are observing is:

  • The same gender as us
  • The similar age or older than us
  • Powerful or of a high status
  • Friendly or likeable
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Positive/Negative reinforcement

Positive reinforcement:

  • Behaviour is repeated because of personal satisfaction or rewards
  • Star charts
  • Certificates
  • Praise
  • Awards

Negative reinforcement:

  • Behaviour is not repeated to avoid an adverse experince such as lack of satisfaction or to avoid being told off
  • Remove behaviours
  • Replace with another behaviour
  • Ignore behaviour
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