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Flashcards in Debate Nature / Nurture Deck (9)
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Explain the nature/nurture debate within psychology

The nature vs. nurture debate within psychology is concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behaviour are a product of either inherited (i.e., genetic) or acquired (i.e., learned) characteristics.


Explain Nature Debate

Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors.


Explain Nurture Debate

Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception, e.g., the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual.


Explain Heredity

Heredity is the passing on of physical or mental characteristics genetically from one generation to another.


Define Interactionist Approach

An interactionist approach argues that several levels of explanation are necessary to explain a particular behaviour, ranging from lower (biological) to higher levels (social and cultural).


Extreme Approaches in the nature/nurture debate

The two extremes of this theory on the Nature side of it will be the biological approach, while on the other hand the Nurture side will be Social/ Learning Theory.


Evaluate Nature / Nurture:

Bowlby believed children have an innate instinct to attach to their primary caregiver for survival. He stated that children are born with the tendency to display certain behaviours, which help ensure proximity and contact with the mother or mother-figure, for example crying, smiling etc. Attachment behaviour makes very good sense from an evolutionary point of view because it would have been those babies that stayed close to their mothers who would have survived to have children of their own. Therefore humans have evolved a biological need to behave in this way whereby ensuring they stay in close contact with one another.


Evaluate Nature / Nurture:
Social Learning Theory

Social Learning Theory proposes that much of what we learn is through observation and vicarious reinforcement. E.g., Bandura demonstrated this in his Bobo doll experiments. He found that children who watched an adult role model being rewarded for aggression towards an inflatable doll, tended to imitate that behaviour when later on their own with a Bobo doll. This supports the idea that personality is determined by nurture rather than nature. This provides us with model of how to behave. However, such behaviour becomes part of an individual’s behavioural repertoire through direct reinforcement – when a behaviour is imitated, it receives direct reinforcement.


Evaluate Nature / Nurture:
Twin Studies

Twin studies provides good evidence in the Nature-Nurture debate. Identical twins are born with 100% similarities in genetic code. This means that what ever differences they display are purely environmental based. Scientists have discovered that Identical twins separated at birth and raised in different environments will have different beliefs attitudes as well as physical and mental health differences this provides evidence for the nurture side of the debate and proves humans aren’t 100% nature driven.