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Social Issues of Human Behavior: Nature and Nurture Essay


For over a hundred years, scientists have tried to come up with plausible explanations for how human behaviors develop and persist. Two of the most convincing explanations given are nature and nurture. According to the nature view, behaviors are developed from the biological makeup of an individual.

On the other hand, the nurture view asserts that behaviors are developed and persist according to the upbringing and the environment the individual grows up in (Hurley 48). The two views are highly debated due to several reasons. To begin with, the level of control that a human being has over his life differs depending on the view used. Nature suggests that we are victims of fate since our behavior is guided by biology (Hurley 48).

In contrast to this, nurture asserts that we control our fate since behavior is developed though upbringing. In addition to this, the two views have differing perspectives on who should be blamed for poor behavior exhibited by a person. Nature demonstrates that we are a product of our biology and as such poor behavior can be blamed on poor genes. Supporters of the nurture view blame an individual’s poor behavior on his/her upbringing.

In my opinion, it would not be possible to answer the question of nature and nurture definitively. A definitive answer would require scientists to agree on one of the views. However, this has not been the case and through the 20th century, none of the views has been a clear favorite in academic circles. Scientists and scholars have continued to be split on the issue.

In spite of intensive research on the subject, scientists are still in disagreement over which view is more plausible. Keltner and James note that scientists have continued to be either biologically inclined of dynamically inclined (88).

In addition to this, none of the views apply consistently in all cases. Studies on identical twins brought up in different environments have repeatedly shown that individuals can develop different behaviors in spite of having close genetic makeup.

At the same time, other studies have shown that some mental conditions are inherited from parents. Keltner and James reveal that some mental disorders such as schizophrenia are genetic with 85% of individuals inheriting the condition from parents (89). This suggests that genes contribute to the behavior of a person. These conflicting results suggest that it would be impossible to definitively answer the question of nature and nurture.

While I believe that it is impossible to provide an absolute answer to the question of nature vs. nature, my opinion is that nurture has more power to affect personal life. According to the nurture view, a person’s upbringing or his influences in life determine his behavioral outcomes. Factors such as growing up in a safe environment surrounded by nurturing parents increase the chances of good outcomes in the life of the person.

Hurley reveals that an individual born to bad parents but raised by good ones is likely to grow up to demonstrate positive values (50). This shows that nurture has more power to affect a person’s life even when the biology is not in his favor. In addition to this, the nurture view suggests that a person can take action to create the personality he/she wants.

Gwin documents that in spite of the strong influence of genetics on the personality and behavior of a person, there is greater room for environmental influences on the person’s personality (97). For these reasons, I believe that nurture is the more powerful force in a person’s life.

Works Cited

Gwin, Carol. “Nature vs. Nurture: the role of family in compulsive buying.” Marketing Management Journal 15.1 (2005): 95-107. Web. 28 Jul. 2014.

Hurley, Dan. “Trait vs. Fate.” Discover 34.4 (2013): 48-55. Web. 28 Jul. 2014.

Keltner, Norman and James Christopher. “Nature vs. Nurture: Two Brothers with Schizophrenia.” Perspectives in Psychiatric Care 37.3 (2001): 88-94. Web. 28 Jul. 2014.

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IvyPanda. (2020, March 17). Social Issues of Human Behavior: Nature and Nurture. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-of-human-behavior-nature-and-nurture/

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1. IvyPanda. "Social Issues of Human Behavior: Nature and Nurture." March 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-of-human-behavior-nature-and-nurture/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Social Issues of Human Behavior: Nature and Nurture." March 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-issues-of-human-behavior-nature-and-nurture/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Social Issues of Human Behavior: Nature and Nurture'. 17 March.

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