I&S – Psychology: Nature vs Nurture

Is our behavior determined by genes, or environment? Physical characteristics are generally based on inheritance, however we cannot say that it is the same for how we act. The nature vs nurture debate is the discussion whether our behavior and actions is either inherited through genetics, or if they are influenced by our surrounding environment. I believe that although genetics are the basis, they could easily be altered by how someone was raised, society, and culture.

Example: Recently, I have found that there are ‘intelligent genes’ and that you can inherit you’re parents smartness. If a man was successful because he was hardworking and intelligent, the child has the potential to be just as hardworking or intelligent based on these ‘intelligence genes’. However if the child was raised in a spoiled environment, the child may not reach that potential, as the child was spoiled and did not get educated like the parent. On the other hand, a child can be better at math than their parent if they studied hard. Although genetic makeup is a big part of who we are, a child’s upbringing can easily influence the outcome.

We learned that in a Cambridge experiment, adults and babies were placed in a room with gender-typed toys, to study if the adults would choose the toy to play with depending on the baby’s gender. All adults chose according to gender stereotypes (girls like dolls, boys like cars). This suggested that parent’s impose these gender stereotypes on their children. However, in a Hines experiment, they placed gender-typed toys with monkeys to see how the nature will react. The females were interested in the baby dolls, while the males were interested in the cars. This is because biologically, females tend to be more nurturing due to being fertile therefore they would choose the baby doll, while males are naturally more masculine and were interested in the toy that moves. I agree more with the Hines study, that the reason girls tend to like girly toys and boys tend to like boyish toys is due to instinct however, parents do tend to force these ‘stereotypes’ on their children because that is the norm in society.

Hereditary plays a big part in how we behave, however they do not determine everything. Some kids come from musical parents and become musicians as well, however if the child did not sing or play any instruments, they will not become a musician just because ‘it’s in their genes’.

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