The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

o     Describe and evaluate the role of both nature and nurture in explaining human behaviour, drawing on material (including content and methods) studied in psychology.

o     Explain the differing emphases placed on both nature and nurture by the various approaches and/or applications studied.

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  • Created by: Issy H
  • Created on: 15-06-12 14:10

Approaches/ Applications and Nature vs. Nurture

 Cognitive: Brain functioning and information processing occur in a particular way, in regard to thinking. Cues in the environment help us to recall information, or distort memories. Social:Society may have evolved to become an agent. Focuses on the impact of society on the individual.Psychodynamic: People have an id, ego and super ego. Also an unconscious mind. Parents and society give the super ego a conscious, so we adapt to societies expectations.Biological: Hormones neurotransmitters, genes contribute to out genetic blueprint. The environment from conception affects maturation and development.Learning: Reflexes are innate. There is a tendency to learn by association and reward- how we learn. What we learn come from the environment, including all our experiences.Criminal: Brain structures and hormones may be a cause of aggressive behaviour. Effect of environment on becoming criminal- self fulfilling prophecy.Health: Drugs affect neural transmission at the synapse. Treatments for drug addiction see to have included the removal of environmental cues which may cause relapse.Clinical: There may be a genetic cause for schizophrenia (inheritance). Mental health is affected by environment. Those with social support may be less severely affected.

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Nature vs. Nurture

  • Nature: what we are born able to do (our biochemical make up).  
  • Nurture: the experience we have, affect on behaviour (influence of the environment).  
  • The debate is not clear cut. When a baby is born, there are innate factors which are down to nature based on genes and hormones, but the environment has an influence on how it learns to talk, and other factors.  
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How is Nature/ Nurture Debate Studied?

  • Twin Studies: Show the impact of both nature and nurture by looking at MZ who share 100% of and DNA and DZ who share the environment but only 50%. Although MZ’s may have 100% DNA, concordance rates are never 100% meaning the environment must have some impact.  
  • Adoption Studies: Looks at the effect on nature and nurture. If a child suffers from schizophrenia, and as does their biological mother, there is a role for nature. But there is influence of adoptive parents to.  
  • Animal Studies: Shows the influence of environment on genetically identical bred animals.  
  • Cross-Cultural Studies: Shows what are innate factors and what cultures affect (nurture).  Unique vs universal. 
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Evaluation of the Debate

  • Issue of cause and effect- did nature cause the learned behaviour or did the learned behaviour cause the natural change.  
  • MZ’s do never have a 100% concordance rate, meaning there is an environmental role.  
  • Cross Cultural studies are hard to draw conclusions from as its hard to become fully immersed in a culture.  
  • Animal Studies are hard to generalise to humans, as there are differences.  
  • We should take a holistic approach (interactionsm) and use both sides of the argument to understand human behaviour.
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