The debate of nature versus nurture has been going on for generations and is still active in contemporary society. This argument covers the influences of people’s genetics and their background and upbringing on their choices and behaviors further in life. For example, a typical question for such debate explores the causes of aggressive conduct in teenagers and adolescents that can be studied from the point of view of the way they were treated by their parents or based on the traits they inherited genetically (Pinker 5). The concept of human nature played an important role in this debate.
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The rejection of the existence of some fixed features that refer to human nature created a “blank slate” perspective that maintained that the history of a human being is the main determinant of their character, habits, and behaviors (Pinker 5). This perspective dominated throughout the 20th century and served as the basis to oppose racial, class, and gender stereotypes (Pinker 6). At the same time, the genetic causes of some behaviors are scientifically proved.
For example, Rockoff explains that the biology of the nervous system is responsible for the individuals’ sensitivity towards environments and divides them into two main types – orchids (more sensitive ones) and dandelions (less sensitive ones) (par. 2). The differences in the nervous systems’ biology depend on genetic characteristics. Therefore, the impact of nature on people’s behaviors cannot be denied completely, and the slate is not fully blank after all.
The new perspective concerning the debate today argues that the separation of the impacts of nature and nurture on the individuals’ behaviors is unwise, unproductive, and overall impossible (Levitt 1). Moreover, contemporary social scientists believe that this debate is a false dichotomy that was typical for the earlier societies due to their naivety, but these days the debate is outdated. Besides, if taken too far, this debate may lead to extremely negative consequences such as the abuse of genetics, eugenic practices, and discrimination as it has happened in the past when people with a particular set of features were considered superior to others (Levitt 2).
Professionally, the impacts of nature can be incorporated while diversifying the work of the class by dividing the students based on their academic performance and providing everyone with an assignment suitable for their abilities. The influence of nurture needs to be considered while working with a culturally and socially diverse class to ensure sensitive teaching and to relate the class materials to the students’ daily experiences.
Levitt, Mairi. “Perceptions of Nature, Nurture And Behaviour.” Life Sci Soc Policy 9.1 (2013): 1-13. Print.
Pinker, Steven. “Why nature & nurture won’t go away.” Daedalus 133.4 (2004): 5-17.