Essay about Creative Talents and the Nature-Nurture Controversy

Essay about Creative Talents and the Nature-Nurture Controversy

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Throughout the early 1900s, the nature-nurture debate (also referred to as heredity-environment and maturation-learning) was the center of lively controversy. With emerging psychologists such as Edward Thorndike, John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov and many others, the behaviorist theory surfaced into the realm of psychology and with it, the idea that all human behavior is learned. In terms of the nature and nurture of heightened human capabilities, this idea contradicted the accepted belief that talent was inherited, a belief established by Sir Francis Galton in 1896 with his work, Hereditary Genius. Although psychologists agreed both were necessary to an extent, the debate centered itself around which one had more impact and how much was needed to be evident in gifted individuals. That is until it took a new form in 1958 in Anne Anastasi’s presidential address to the American Psychological Association, “Heredity, Environment, and the Question ‘How?’”, in which the focus shifted from “which” to the manner of interaction between the two and how they interacted to produce examples of high ability or talent. Anastasi is best known for her work in the development of psychometrics, the technique and theory of psychological measurement. The basis of the nature-nurture debate on talent has become: How much of any characteristic, behavior, or emotion is the result of genes and how much is the result of specific experiences? On one extreme, psychologists of the biological perspective are predisposed to believe that most traits are inborn, that some individuals are innately musically inclined while others are not. On the other side, behaviorists stress nurture, either crediting or blaming non-hereditary factors, such as experience, practic...


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...del." Psychological Review. 106.3 (1999): 435-457. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
Winner, Ellen. "The Origins and Ends of Giftedness."American Psychologist. 55.1 (2000): 159-169. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

Works Consulted

Amabile, Teresa M. "The social psychology of creativity: A componential conceptualization." Journal of personality and social psychology. 45.2 (1983): 357-376. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Berger, Kathleen Strassen. Invitation to the Life Span. 2nd ed. Worth Publishers, Incorporated, 2013. 194-199, 304. eBook.

Evans, Robert J., Robert Bickel, and Edwina D. Pendarvis. "Musical Talent: Innate or Acquired? Perceptions of Students, Parents, and Teachers." Gifted Child Quarterly. 44.2 (2000): 80-90. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.


Hollingworth, Letta Stetter. Special talents and defects : their significance for education. 1st ed. London: MacMillan and Co., 1926. 202-221. Web.

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