Nature is the influence of genetics or hereditary factors in determining the individual’s behavior. In other words, it is how natural factors shape the behavior or personality of an individual. In most cases, nature determines the physical characteristics which in effect influence the behavior of an individual. Physical characteristics such as physical appearance, type of voice and sex which are determined by hereditary factors influences the way people behave.
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Nurture on the other is the upbringing of an individual according to the environmental conditions. That is, the way individuals are socialized. Basically, nurture is the influence of environmental factors on an individual’s behavior.
According to this paradigm, an individual’s behavior can be conditioned depending on the way one would like it to be. Often, individuals’ behaviors are conditioned by the socio-cultural environmental factors. It is because of socio-cultural environmental conditions that the differences in the behavior of individuals occur.
Nature determines individual traits that are hereditary. In other words, human characteristics are determined by genetic predispositions which are largely natural. Hereditary traits are normally being passed from the parents to the offspring. They include characteristics that determine sex and physical make up. According to natural behaviorists, it is the genes that will determine the physical trait an individual will have. These are encoded on the individuals DNA.
Therefore, behavioral traits such as sexual orientation, aggression, personality and intelligence are also encoded in the DNA. However, scientists believe that these characteristics are evolutionary. That is, they change over time depending on the physical environment adaptability. Evolutionary scientists argue that changes in genes are as a result of mutations which are caused by environmental factors. Thus, natural environment determines individual characteristics which are genetically encoded in the DNA.
Conversely, individuals possess traits that are not naturally determined. These are characteristics that are learnt rather than being born with. These are traits which largely determined by the socio-cultural environmental factors or the way the individuals are socialized within the society depending on the societal values.
These traits are learnt as an individual develops and can easily be changed by the socio-cultural environment where the individual is currently staying. These characteristics include temperament, ability to master a language and sense of humor. Behavioral theorists believe that these traits can be conditioned and altered much like the way animal behavior can be conditioned.
From the discussion it can be deduced that individuals’ traits are determined by hereditary genes and at the same time can be natured. There are those traits that cannot be changed in an individual no matter what condition the person is exposed to. These traits are inborn and embed within the individual hereditary factors.
In most cases, they constitute the physical characteristics of an individual. They also determine the physical behaviors such as walking style, physical appearance and eating habits. At the same time there are learned characteristics which are normally being conditioned by the socio-cultural values. Individuals learn these traits from the way they are socialized within the immediate social or cultural environment. In other words, such behaviors are conditioned by the cultural values encouraged by the immediate society.
In conclusion, nature vs. nurture debate still remains controversial. However, all agree that nature and nurture play a crucial role in determining an individual’s behavior. Nature is associated with heredity roles in determining the individuals characteristics where as nurture is associated with the role of socio-cultural environment in determining the individuals behavior.