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“Nature” Versus “Nurture”: Effects on Child Development Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Apr 23rd, 2019

Introduction

The nature versus nurture controversy can be perceived as the roles played by heredity or inheritance as well as the environment in the development of human beings. The behavior of human beings is thus attributed to genetic predisposition, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the nature theory of human behavior (Keltner, James, Darling, Findley & Oliver, 2001).

The nurture theory attributable to human behavior can be defined as the innate personal experiences which make people behave in a certain way as they have been taught to behave.

However, nature and nurture theorems have been the center of focus by many studies which major in the field of human psychology. The following essay will focus on the controversy of “nature” versus “nurture” and how it affects our understanding of child development.

Children development

Keltner et.al argues that some behaviors are hereditary and thus are inborn while others are attributed to environmental effects (Keltner et.al, 2001). On one hand, the mind of a child can be considered as a blank slate at the beginning of his/her development and is then shaped by the environment around the child. On the other hand, it can be argued that the behavior of a child is inborn and thus hereditary.

As such, there is no clear explanation of what really influences a child’s behavior. For instance, academic excellence is sometimes attributed to genetics and the level of education of the child’s parents. However, environmental factors also make a large contribution on the child’s academic success.

For instance, a child born of a rich family stands a high chance of receiving quality education compared to on e born of a poor family. Additionally, a child born of intelligent parents might also perform poorly should he/she be educated in a school with poor quality of education.

Although psychologists agree that the two controversies have some influence in the development of a child, many are hesitant to buy the extremes of these arguments. This is due to the fact that there are various other factors that affect children’s development today.

As such, the extent to which nature and nurture affect children’s development is thus considered as the point of focus in the debate. Both factors are believed to interact in various different ways thus, none can be said to be the ultimate influence of a child’s behavior (Dehaene-Lambertz, Hertz-Pannier & Dubois, 2006).

While the genetic composition can be said to influence the behavior of an individual, it does not always compel someone to behave in a certain manner. This implies that an individual is solely responsible for his/her choice of behavior as one grows up. Consequently, a child’s behavior cannot be viewed as solely attributable to the genetic composition of the parents and the hereditary characteristics.

For instance, identical twins have been observed to develop different behavior aspects when exposed to different environments. As proposed by the nature theory, there should be no observable difference in their behavior as they have the same genetic composition (Dehaene-Lambertz, Hertz-Pannier & Dubois, 2006). Therefore, hereditary genes can only have an effect to a child’s behavior only to some extent.

Conclusion

From the above argument, the behavior of children during their development cannot be narrowed down to either as a result of “nature” alone or “nurture” but rather, as a result of the two factors. Therefore, the society should not generalize the behaviors of children and attribute them to their genetic composition or the environment in which they have been brought up. With these considerations in mind, the development of a child can therefore be based on both hereditary characteristics as well as the environmental effects.

References

Dehaene-Lambertz, G. Hertz-Pannier, L. & Dubois, (2006). Nature and nurture in language acquisition: Anatomical and functional brain-imaging studies in infants. Trends in Neurosciences, 29(7), 367-363.

Keltner, N. L., James, C. A., Darling, R. J., Findley, L. S., & Oliver, K. (2001). Nature vs. Nurture: Two Brothers With Schizophrenia. Perspectives In Psychiatric Care, 37(3), 88-94.

Marotz, L.R., & Allen, K.E. (2013). Developmental Profiles: Pre-Birth through adolescence (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "“Nature” Versus “Nurture”: Effects on Child Development." April 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nature-versus-nurture-critical-writing/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) '“Nature” Versus “Nurture”: Effects on Child Development'. 23 April.

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