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Human Development: Nature vs. Nurture Essay

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The nature versus nurture debate is an old issue within the field of psychology.
“The nature-nurture issue is a perennial one that has resurfaced in current psychiatry as a series of debates on the role that genes (DNA) and environments play in the etiology and pathophysiology of mental disorders” (Schaffner)
The debate is essentially about what is inherited (nature) and what is experienced by environmental factors (nurture) and how they affect human development. Naturally, the nature versus nurture debate relates to many controversies such as intelligence, gender identities, violent behaviors, and sexual orientation.
There are countless studies on whether intelligence is an inherited trait or if it is influenced by environmental factors. A study was conducted with adopted children and non-adopted children to see if a conclusion can be made based on the influence of hereditary and environmental intellectual variation (Leahy). The study was conducted with strict standards to make it valid. For example, the adopted children that were studied were young; they also were brought up in similar backgrounds as the control children. Parents’ occupation was also similar, as this would affect the results if the parents had varying occupations (Leahy). The results from this study showed that:
“Variation in IQ is accounted for by variation in home environment to the extent of not more than 4 percent; 96 percent of the variation is accounted for by other factors” (Leahy).
“Measureable environment does not shift the IQ by more than 3 to 5 points above or below the value it would have had under normal environmental conditions… The nature or hereditary component in intelligence causes greater variation than does environment. When nature an...


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Cherry, Kendra “What Is Nature versus Nurture?” Accessed February 20, 2014.
http://psychology.about.com/od/nindex/g/nature-nurture.htm

Ellis, L. 1987 Psychological Bulletin. Neurohormonal Functioning and Sexual Orientation: A Theory of Homosexuality-Heterosexuality
101(2); 233-258

Gallup, G 1977 Homosexuals in America. Gallup Opinion 147

Hettena, Seth “Study Questions ‘Sex Reassignment’” Accessed February 20, 2014.
http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/HopkinsStudy.html

Leahy, A.
1935 Genetic Psychology Monographs. Nature-Nurture and Intelligence.
17(4); 241-305

Reif, A
2007 Neuropsycopharmacology. Nature and Nurture Predispose to Violent Behavior: Serotonergic Genes and Averse Childhood Environment
32 (11); 2375-2383

Schaffner, K.
2001 Current Opinion in Psychiatry. Nature and Nurture.
14(50); 485-490



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