Nurture VS Nurture
Uploaded by Shailesh on Oct 13, 2007
The nature versus nurture debates concern the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature") versus personal experiences ("nurture") in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits. The view that humans acquire all or almost all their behavioral traits from "nurture" is known as Tabula Rasa ("blank slate"). This question was once considered to be an appropriate division of developmental influences, but since both types of factors are known to play such interacting roles in development, modern psychologists consider the question naive - representing an outdated state of knowledge.
The Scientific Approach:
In order to disentangle the effects of genes and environment, behavioral geneticists perform adoption and twin studies. Behavioral geneticists do not generally use the term "nurture" in order to explain that portion of the variance for a given trait (such as IQ or the Big Five personality traits) that can be attributed to environmental effects. Instead, two different types of environmental effects are distinguished: shared family factors (i.e., those shared by siblings, making them more similar) and nonshared factors (i.e., those that uniquely affect individuals, making siblings different). In order to express the portion of the variance that is due to the "nature" component, behavioral geneticists generally refer to the heritability of a trait.
With regard to the Big Five personality traits as well as adult IQ in the general U.S. population, the portion of the overall variance that can be attributed to share family effects is often negligible. On the other hand, most traits are thought to be at least partially heritable. In this context, the "nature" component of the variance is generally thought to be more important than that ascribed to the influence of family upbringing.
In her Pulitzer Prize-nominated book The Nurture Assumption, author Judith Harris argues that "nurture," as traditionally defined in terms family upbringing and socioeconomic status, does not effectively explain the variance for most traits (such as adult IQ and the Big Five personality traits) in the general population of the United States. On the contrary, Harris suggests that either peer groups or random environmental factors (i.e., those that are independent of family upbringing) are more important than family environmental effects
Although "nurture" has historically been referred to as the care given to children by...