• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Nature VS nurture - Issues, perspectives and debates in psychology.

Extracts from this document...


NATURE VS NURTURE ISSUES, PERSPETIVES AND DEBATES IN PSYCHOLOGY Michelle Buckley NATURE refers to our innate potential that is influenced entirely by physiological and genetic factors. NURTURE refers to the influence of the environment into & all the learning experiences we have after we are born. The nature-nurture debate has been hotly debated in psychology. At the outset of psychological research the nature-nurture debate was a point of argument between researchers from the behaviourist tradition and other approaches. More recently it has divided researches with regard to social and racial differences in intelligence. Nowadays it's hard to believe that something as complex as human behaviour can be completely explained by either side of the argument, it's more likely to be a product of both, as suggested by the Psychologist Robert Plomin. He would like to see the nature-nurture debate end as he says most human behaviours are not influenced by nature or nurture but by nature and nurture. He makes the point that twin and adoption studies have provided evidence for the fact that there is a genetic component to personality, intelligence and general behavioural disorders such as Schizophrenia and Autism. However the genetic influence on these traits and behaviour is only partial, genetics account for on average half of the variance of most traits therefore the environment must account for the rest according to Plomin. This means that they are interdependent. An approach that belongs on the interdependent side of the argument is the cognitive-developmental approach. A key assumption of this approach is that development occurs through the twin processes of nature and nurture. Piaget believed that children were innately curious and programmed to learn (nature) ...read more.


This therefore suggests that nurture is responsible for the development of schizophrenia. Although investigators are still uncertain whether this disorganised communication is the cause or result of schizophrenia. It's difficult to place all of the blame onto contradictory messages, people will respond differently to contradictory messages; this suggests this idea is unreliable as the results aren't consistent. The disorganised family life often associated with poverty has also been implicated in schizophrenia. In conclusion there doesn't seem to be a definite answer as to whether schizophrenia is caused by nature or nurture. They appear to be interdependent, as with the above causes no one seems to solely cause schizophrenia. There is evidence to support as well as to contradict each of the suggestions, which makes discovering the cause of schizophrenia difficult. Child psychology has been in the middle of the debate on nature vs. nurture. Psychologists such as Piaget said children were innately curious but needed the right sort of environment to learn. Theories of attachment are however central. Bowlby was involved within the psychodynamic approach and influenced by the work of ethologists. He 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. ...read more.


These are interestingly the characteristics of an affectionless psychopath. Of course there is no serious evidence to support this theory and it encourages prejudices and stereotyping. Lombroso's research was flawed as he didn't use proper control groups and the criminal samples he used were often mentally disturbed or suffering chromosomal abnormalities. Goring (1913) reported that a study comparing 3000 convicts with 3000 non-criminals found no differences in features. Another theory for the genetic basis of crime comes from Sheldon. He categorised people into 3 body shapes and noticed criminals fell into a particular group. His three groups were: Endomorphs - these people were fat and soft; they were relaxed as a whole and enjoyed the company of others. Ectomorphs - these people were thin and fragile and as a whole solitary and self-conscious. Mezomorphs - these were muscular and broad, this is the group associated with criminality because they are aggressive, have a high pain tolerance and are careless of other people's feelings. Of course this is only a correlation and could be due to third variables. In conclusion it's unlikely that biological theories alone can offer a convincing explanation for criminal behaviour. Any link between physiology and criminal behaviour is likely to have been affected by the environment. In conclusion of the nature nurture debate there doesn't seem to be any conclusive evidence for either and I believe the interactionist view is more reliable. Because of the advances in technology it's impossible to reach a clear result as proved in the case of schizophrenia, it's better to be more open-minded and accept that both nature and nurture have a role to play side by side. ?? (footnote continued) 4 3 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Investigate the stages that infants go through when developing attachments.

    * If the separation was due to the psychological disorder of one or both of the parents or to stress and arguments within the family, then the boys were four times more likely to turn to crime. Conclusion - Rutter concluded it was the conflict and stress which came before

  2. Is Popular culture an Influence on Violent Behaviour?

    a successful $130 million lawsuit against two Internet sites, several computer game companies, and Time Warner and Polygram. Despite successful research into the field of violent behaviour and popular culture and success in court and interesting theories, many people believe that popular culture cannot and does not influence violent behaviour in individuals in contemporary society.

  1. Describe three debates in development psychology. Nature versus Nurture, Continuity vs. Discontinuity and the ...

    Another set of identical twins was raised apart. They did not meet until they were almost forty and had many likenesses even though they were raised in a different environment. There was no reason for their similarities expect that nature must have played a key role in development.

  2. Infant's Attachments

    He or she needs to recognize his or her parent by sight as well as touch and smell" (Fremion). Lastly, the way a mother talks to her infant can create a secure attachment and let the child know he or she is loved and cared for.


    Diagnosis is always culturally specific. Marcie Kaplan (1983, cited in Barlow & Durand, 2002) suggests a Diagnosis of "Independent" Personality Disorder, which is indicated by workaholic behaviour, and avoidance of emotional issues at the expense of ones career. This tongue-in-cheek rejoinder to the psychiatric fraternity highlights the cultural validity and

  2. What causes crime?

    Evaluation of Eysenck's Theory A positive opinion of Eysenck's theory is that it does recognise both biological and environmental factors. However, an argument against it would be that there have been other studies that claim that sensation seeking is not related to extraversion, but to an excitable central nervous system (Smith et al, 1989).

  1. The nature nurture debate is one of the oldest theories debated in psychology.

    When a baby is born they are usually born with blue eye and can change when exposed to sunlight. Babies' eye colour usually settles to their permanent colour by the time the child is three years of age. However child throwing toys on the floor is nurture and the child

  2. Psychology Controversy essay, Nature Vs Nurture PY4

      T h i s   v i e w   s a y s   t h a t   o u r   m i n d s   a t   f i r s t   i s   a   t a b u l

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work