In the debate of nature v nurture there are people who take the position that all or most behaviors and characteristics are the result of inheritance; they are known as nativists. Philosophers Plato and Descartes, for example, suggested that certain human behaviors and characteristics occurred naturally, with no regard for environmental influences. An example of a nativist theory within psychology is Chomsky's concept of a “language acquisition device”, or LAD. According to this theory, “…all children are born with an instinctive mental capacity that allows them to both learn and produce language.”~ Chomsky
On the other side of the table, there are people who take the position that all or most behaviors and characteristics are the result of learning; they are known as empiricists. “Racism isn’t born, folks. It’s taught. I have a 2-year-old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list” ~ Denis Leary. Besides comedian/actor Denis Leary, well-known ...
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...ated the problem. Behind his right temple sat an egg-sized brain tumor. After surgeons removed the tumor, his urges faded and he returned home to his family. Then a year later the tumor partially grew back, and with it the sexual impulses. A second tumor removal again lessened the impulses. (p35, David G. Myers) This case only proves, though, that human behaviors come from within the brain. How they get in there is still under question.
All in all, the majority of experts today believe that behavior and human development are influenced by both nature and nurture. However, the issue is still debated in many areas such as in the origins of homosexuality and influences on intelligence. While few people take the extreme nativist or extreme empiricist approach, researchers and experts still debate the degree to which biology and environment influence human behavior.
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