Nature vs. Nurture Feral Children

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Nature vs. Nurture – Feral Children

By Daniel Griffin


The nature vs. nurture debate is one of the oldest controversies argued by psychologists and scientists worldwide. It raises the question ‘what exactly influences our behaviour and personality?’. It is commonly agreed amongst sociologists that we pick up almost all of our skills and behaviours by watching, imitating and listening to others, and that people act as they do because they learned to be the people that they are. This is known as a nurture theory of human behaviour.  On the contrary it is argued that people behave as they do because they are animals who act according to their animal instincts and biology. This is known as a Nature theory of human behaviour. For example, one the topic of how a person may become aggressive, the ‘nature’ side of the debate may argue that aggression is due to hormones and certain chemistry in the brain. On the contrary the ‘nurture’ side may claim that aggression is imitated or learned as a consequence of a certain environment.

The following text aims to examine the impact of genetic versus learned characteristics in humans.

Inherited characteristics.

Inheritable traits are traits that get passed down from one generation to the next generation and are the result of biology. These traits can be genetically explained and affect aspects of our physical appearance such as our skin colour, muscle structure, bone structure, and even features like the shape of a nose.

These traits cannot be changed, for example, an individual can’t alter the natural colour of their skin, hair or .

Although the supporting evidence is less strong, there are also certain elements of personality that are believed to be genetically passed down. Some believe that a person is born with an inherited level of intelligence, social nature and mood that is unaffected by the environment.

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Learned characteristics.

Learned behaviour is the result of life experiences, nurture rather than nature. An acquired behaviour is a type of attribute which cannot be passed on genetically; language, religion, and the ability to read and write are all learnt behaviours. Another instance of where behaviour is learnt could be when pain is experienced due to a particular action; for example, if someone touches a small flame and gets burnt, after this experience the victim will learn to be cautious around fire and be much less likely to repeat that action in future. Sociologists tend to agree that ...

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