Nature Vs Nurture


Nature Vs Nurture

The nature-nurture debate = concerned with the extent to which aspects of behaviour are a product of inherited or aquired characteristics.

The Debate

Nature - early nativists such as René Descartes argued that human characteristics and some aspects of knowledge are innate: the result of heredity. In contrast to this, empiriciists argued that the mind is a blank slate at birth which learning and experiences write: the result of environmental factors, which also became an important factor of the behaviourist approach.

Heredity = the genetic transmission of mental or physical characteristics from one generation to another.

Environment = any influence on human behaviour that is non-genetic. This may range from pre-natal influencesin the womb through to cultural and historical influences at a societal level.

The heritability coefficient is used to assess heredity. It is a number ranging fron 0 to 1, which indicates the extent to which a characteristic has a genetic basis (the closer to 1 the number gets, the more genetically determined). 

The general figure for heretability in IQ is around 0.5 across multiple studies in varying populations, which means that both genetics and the environment are important factors of intelligence.

Nurture - the concept of nurture and environmental influences in psychology requires clarification as the environment is such a broad concept. 

Richard Lerner has identified different levels of the environment. These may be defined…


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