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"Is behavior mainly inherited or it is learned?" Discuss based on your knowledge concerning modern Psychological theories.

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Introduction

"Is behavior mainly inherited or it is learned?" Discuss based on your knowledge concerning modern Psychological theories. The answer to this question is based on the debate of nature and nurture. Nature represents the idea that behavior is inherited while the psychologists who support nature are known as nativists. Hence, nurture is that behavior is learned and those who believe in nurture are known as the empiricists. The nativists position is that a person is born with an inherited "blue print", meaning an inherited disposition such as DNA. And afterwards his behavior will be developed through the process of maturation. So, the environment doesn't affect behavior only when there are methods employed in order to change an individual's nature (e.g.: gene therapy or brain surgery). ...read more.

Middle

To begin with the neurobiological perspective, the aim of this perspective is to relate behavior to events that take place within the body. For instance a behavior such as anxiety is believed that is a consequence of specific brain stimulations. As the neurobiological perspective accounts behavior to biological causes therefore is the nearest perspective to nativists side. Later on, there is the psychoanalytic perspective which believes that behavior is controlled by the ID, which is the restricted impulses, the SUPEREGO, meaning the ideal self created by the society, and the EGO which keeps balance between the ID and the SUPEREGO. This theory is based to the existence of the unconscious (Freud). ...read more.

Conclusion

Last of all is the behavioristic approach which supports that others can observe your behavior (Watson). As well as the stimulus response psychology (Skinner) which studies the stimuli that elect behavioral responses. The reason of behavioristic approach being the closest to nurture is because it focuses on the acquisition of observing all behavior from the environment via conditioning. Even though several opinions for this debate have been stated there are some points where nature and nurture interact with each other. For instance two psychologists showed restricted environmental experience could physically affect the visual cortex of the brain. Finally, we conclude to the fact that behavior is a mixture of both heredity and environment because a biological predisposition present at birth interacts with the experiences that we encounter throughout life. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The above essay is well-written and indicates the candidate is wholly capable of discussing, to a good analytical depth, the Nature vs. Nurture debate as well as implicitly referring to Individual vs. Situational Attribution. This integration really fortifies the answer ...

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Response to the question

The above essay is well-written and indicates the candidate is wholly capable of discussing, to a good analytical depth, the Nature vs. Nurture debate as well as implicitly referring to Individual vs. Situational Attribution. This integration really fortifies the answer and makes it stand out amongst others (something candidates should value, as the examiners will be marking hundreds of similar essay and small things like this make it a more interesting read). The candidate takes their time with an effective introductory paragraph, outlining the Nature vs. Nurture debate and informing readers of some of the language which is used in psychology too. All in all a very sound response to the question.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is very good, but there are a few things missing/things to be corrected. Where the answer is good is the candidate's use of an integrated response, drawing on a number of other debates that link to the Nature vs. Nurture debate; they also succeed in giving a balanced argument with plenty of empirical evidence in the form of psychological research (Freud, Freudian theory, Lorenz, etc.). The argument utilises plenty of Psychology-specific language, which indicates to the examiner that there is a confident candidate behind the essay; one who is comfortable and competent enough to discuss psychology using the terms and vocabulary experts use.

Some areas need improvements, such as in the exemplary paragraph on the attribution of aggression, where the candidate provides Freud and Lorenz in support of the Nature debate and no study or evidence for the Nurture debate. The candidate could use the study by Bandura, Ross & Ross into the transmission of aggression and Social Learning Theory here. Also, I would be very, very wary about using Freud as evidence for only the Nature debate when actually, his theories could be concluded to be Interactionist (supporting both Nature and Nurture). The Psychodynamic perspective famously attributes a lot of behaviour to childhood experiences and not neuro-psychological shifts as the Id, Ego and Superego are constituents of the 'mind' and not necessarily the actual physical brain (of course there are parts of his theory that do concern the physical brain) so be wary of the more picky exam boards who will want something more in-line with stringent support of Nature only, like Brunner's study into gene deficiency as a reason for crime, or Raine's PET scans of serial murderers.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication (QWC) is fair, although some baffling writing choices have been made. I don't know why the candidate felt the need to capitalise all the letter of Id, Ego and Superego, when in fact I don't think any are required at all. Candidates are reminded of the need for good grammar and English when writing long Psychology essays. In a subject with such a complex array of terms and language it is important candidates retain a good QWC, because it the quality lapses and the examiner cannot read it, or if simply silly decisions like the above have been made (i.e. the mistake is not accidental) then they will not achieve what can be considered the easiest marks to get in the entire exam.


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