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Discuss the nature-nurture debate in relation to the physical development of an individual.

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Introduction

Unit 4 - Development through the life stages Unit 4 - Task 1 M1- Discuss the nature-nurture debate in relation to the physical development of an individual. The nature-nurture debate is concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behaviour are a product of either inherited (genetic) or learned characteristics. Some philosophers and theorists have argued that we are just born to be the way we are. Whereas other theorists have argued that it is the way we are brought up and influenced by our surroundings that makes an individual the way they are. The nature side of the debate believes that it is inherited factors which have the greatest impact on our development. It has long been known that certain physical characteristics are biologically determined by genetic inheritance. The colour of your eyes, if you have straight or curly hair, the pigmentation of your skin and the inheritance of certain genetic diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis are all a function of the genes we inherit. ...read more.

Middle

Children 'naturally' become interested in the sounds and signs that they see around them and the ability to speak develops. Many people speculate as to whether psychological characteristics such as behavioural tendencies, personality attributes and mental abilities are also 'programmed in' before we are even born. The nurture side of the debate recognises that biological factors do play an important part in development; however it is believed that the environment that an individual grows up in is more important. The environment is referred to as the things that make up our world, our experiences, surroundings, what we eat, the type of people we interact with, what we hear, how others treat us etc. It is said that experiences are written onto the mind, which is essentially a 'blank slate'. We have knowledge of the world because we learn from experiences. Prior to experience, the human mind is a void of all characters, without any ideas. Babies gain knowledge about objects and develop intellectually from their experiences with their parent/carer. ...read more.

Conclusion

Instead the child might learn to sign using a sign language, such as British sign language, if people in the child's environment use this system. The environment always interacts with a person's genetics including during maturational processes. Genes cannot operate without an environment. There are simply too many 'facts' on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with a totally one sided view. So instead of asking whether an individual's development is down to nature or nurture the question should be reformulated as to 'How much?' Nature and nurture are both important influences to a person as they are developing their traits. Our genes are important because what we have genetically inherited is essentially the basis of what kind of person we are, but the environment we are brought up in can alter and develop a person even more. I do believe that nurture has a larger effect on an individual than nature, because nurture is the characteristic builder that we gain as we grow up. It is what defines our nature and makes us who we are; nurture cultivates our nature, and it is the main regulator of our being. 1. ...read more.

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