Essay on The Power of Nature and Nurture

Essay on The Power of Nature and Nurture

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Noted psychologist Jerome Kagan once said "Genes and family may determine the foundation of the house, but time and place determine its form" (Moore 165). The debate on nature versus nurture has been a mystery for years, constantly begging the question of whether human behavior, ideas, and feelings are innate or learned over time. Nature, or genetic influences, are formed before birth and finely-tuned through early experiences. Genes are viewed as long and complicated chains that are present throughout life and develop over time. Nature supporters believe that genes form a child's conscience and determine one's approach to life, contrasting with nature is the idea that children are born “blank slates,” only to be formed by experience, or nurture. Nurture is constituted of the influence of millions of complex environmental factors that form a child's character. Advocators of nature do not believe that character is predetermined by genes, but formed over time. Although often separated, nature and nurture work together in human development. The human conscience is neither innate from birth or entirely shaped through experience, instead, genetics and environmental influences combine to form human behaviorism, character, and personality traits that constantly change and develop throughout life.

The debate on nature versus nurture has existed for thousands of years. Ancient philosophers Plato and Aristotle formed the argument through conflicting beliefs on the basics of human knowledge. Plato felt wisdom was innate, that all people were born with knowledge, and their experiences only helped to remind them of what they once knew. Aristotle challenged this through his belief of obtaining information through experiences. He viewe...


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Gallagher, Winifred. Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life. New York: Penguin, 2009. Print.

Goleman, Daniel. "MAJOR PERSONALITY STUDY FINDS THAT TRAITS ARE MOSTLY INHERITED." The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Dec. 1986. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.

Moore, David Scott. The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of Nature/nurture. New York: Times, 2002. Print.

"Nature vs. Nurture - Twin Study Overview." Nature vs. Nurture - Twin Study Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

"Neuroscience Of Intelligence." Neuroscience Of Intelligence. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

Pinker, Steven. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York: Viking, 2002. Print.

Segal, Nancy L. Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us about Human Behavior. New York: Dutton, 1999. Print.

"What Is Epigenetics?" Epigenetics? N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.

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