NATURE VS. NURTUREThe nature (1) versus nurture (2) issue has been around for ages, and scholars (3) have still not concluded which of the two has a greater effect on a person. Nature, referring to heredity, and the nurture, referring to the environment, are two very reasonable explanations to why we are the people we are today. This debate over whether nature or nurture has a bigger effect on us has been argued and supported very well for both sides. Each side stresses very important details and good explanations for why nature, or nurture, controls how we develop. Experimentation (4) and research has been conducted (5) on these two sides, and each is supported with good theories as to why nature or nurture is the important influence on us.
April 26, 2004
Nature is believed to be what determines our personalities, looks, and other things because it's all genetically passed down. Any matter concerning traits relies upon the concept of inborn biology. Many American parents believe that any bad trait (6) that their child has obtained is because of bad parenting, but it may be more a matter of biology, and genes that run through the family. It has been concluded that a newborn doesn’t have a blank slate of personality (7), but does have a set of inherited (8) traits. Tests have been done at the University of Wisconsin to show that temperaments (person’s natural way of thinking) of an infant are influenced more by biology than experiences with their siblings.
In a way, our nature is our genetic gift, which gives us physical traits such as hair color, eye color, and form of the body. It does also determine the kinds of emotions and motivations (9) we will experience, which can be endless. Any new emotion is not possible to experience unless there is change to our genetic material. So in a way, genes give us certain traits or behavior characteristics; but it’s all a matter of whether or not we carry out our certain inherited qualities. And our environment (nurture) can sometimes make that choice for us.
The other side of the debate claims that nurture is the cause to our behavior as well as characteristics. Even though genes are what give us that certain spunk (10) to our personality, the environment has the power to alter it and make us into the exact opposite, as some say. Even the way that certain children are brought up can change how they turn out.
One comparison of how much the environment affects a child's development was done on tomatoes. Tomato seeds have certain genes in them, but what they grow into will be the same no matter what, and because of those genes in each seed, one may be destined to grow better than others. But if random seeds with different genes were split up (11) into two groups, with different environments, it is likely that the quality of the tomato would differ. One group would have all the benefits to help them grow better, such as water, sunlight, good soil, and extra care. Whereas group two would be given bad soil, not enough sunlight and water, and no extra care. These differences in their environment would definitely change the outcome of the tomatoes because group one would turn out a lot better than those in group two. It's a matter of what kind of influence they receive to turn out a certain way. "Bad soil" can alter how something may develop, such as humans.
Different ethnicities (12) have different expectations of how their child is to perform in school. We are perfect examples of the tomatoes because we all aren’t in bad soil, but some of us have higher expectations and environments, so we turn out differently than others. Asian families have higher expectations of their children when it comes to schoolwork. They are automatically expected to do well and excel academically at everything. This higher rate of expectations, and their environment with their parents, ultimately may lead to higher success for them in the near future. The way that Asian kids can be more successful, or even less because of all the pushing that they receive, is different from how other children turn out due to lower standards expected.
Along with having standards set for us in our environment, family surroundings can also affect a child. The family a child comes from is crucial to their development, thus, giving the nurture argument another reason why environment is important. Some authors know this, such as one who wrote this statement: "Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents' race or educational background, regardless of whether the parents are married when the child is born, and regardless of whether the resident parent remarries."
As our nature is a type of genetic endowment (13), nurture is the experience we have during our lifetime. But it's a little different from a regular experience because it resonates (14) with our motivations and emotions, and acts like our inner eye (15). This draws us to certain experiences and ignores others that occur. Society is the influence in our environment that may tell us to act a certain way, but if our inner eye does not motivate us to act that way, we most likely will not. It can control and motivate us to act how society wants us to.
Nature and nurture are tied in together in ways that many of us do not see, and it's an ongoing confusion as to which one creates a person's personality, looks, etc. I have an eclectic view and say that nature and nurture are both important influences to a person as they are developing their traits. Our genes are important because what we have inherited is essentially the basis of what kind of person we are, but the environment can alter and develop a person even more.
Twin studies have been made to determine whether hereditary is the leading factor, or if it’s the environment. The results have shown that it's basically an even amount of influence on a person. The twins shared common interest in spicy food, struggled in math, while playing sports, and have similarities in temperament, tempo (16), and ways of doing things. The differences that they showed were in their working habits, and thoughts; whereas one brother was liberal, the other was very traditional. They had similarities due to heredity, but they did have differences because they grew up in two very different environments. They had their share of common things, as well as differences.
Nature and nurture are both important to acquiring or altering traits in a person. One or the other doesn't work dominate; there needs to be both heredity and environment to answer this long debate.
It seems that this battle between nature and nurture will go on forever because both sides can be easily backed up with supporting information as to which is more important. Some psychologists agree that nature and nurture are both major influences to the development of behavior. Psychologist Robert Plomin said, "…. But the genetic influence on traits and behaviors is only partial (17): Genetics account, on average, for half of the variance (18) of most traits. That means the environment accounts for the rest." We receive genes from our family, but our environment and nurturing can alter that if strong enough, as an influence. Whether we notice it or not, nature and nurture are mixed in with each other, influencing traits of everyone.
Society is made up of genetic beings, and it formed because people have a genetic impulse to group together. If you were to be away from a group, and feel loneliness, that is a genetic behavior, as are all emotions. Culture is also an expression of our common trend as individuals. So it is safe to say that society, at a certain level, is a complex genetic creature, which sends messages to the other individuals, which are also in part genetic. It shows that nature can influence nurture, and vice versa (19), because an inherited behavior can change as time progresses. "… it is a fallacy (20) to believe that any behavior that is genetically inherited cannot be modified (21) over a lifetime."
Nurture has a larger effect on us than does nature. Nurture is the characteristic builder that we gain as we grow up. It is what defines our nature and makes us who we are. Nurture cultivates our nature, and it is the main regulator of our being.
After reading this article, reader must be able to determine the perspective of the author such that nurture is more influential than nature.
Vocabulary and noticeable phrases:
1. Nature (n): heredity / The genetic transmission from parents to offspring(s) – di truyền.
2. Nurture (n): environment / process of feeding and educating children.
3. Scholar (n): specialist in given branch of science.
4. Experimentation (n): experiment / the testing an idea – thí nghiệm, thử nghiệm.
5. Conducted -> Conduct (v): organize / carry out.
6. Trait (n): Characteristic -> phẩm chất, tính chất, tính cách.
7. Blank slate of personality = Blank paper of personality. In here, the “blank slate of personality” means that when the person was born, he or she does not have personal characteristics.
8. Inherited -> Inherit (v): transmit of genetic characteristics from parents to offspring(s).
9. Motivation (n): the acts of motivating / encouraging / stimulating – sực thúc đẩy.
10. Spunk (n): the courage to carry on something / motivation / incentive – động lực.
11. Split up (v): divide up = categorize
12. Ethnicities -> Ethnicity (n): ethnic group.
13. Endowment (n): equipment ~ endow (v): equip or supply with a talent or quality.
14. Resonate with (v): evoke / bring up – gợi lên.
15. Inner eye: instinct / section in your brain that genetically laid out.
16. Tempo (n): speed – tốc độ, nhịp độ.
17. Partial (adj): being a part of something.
18. Variance (n): difference / divergence – đa dạng.
19. Vice versa: ngược lại.
20. Fallacy (n): wrong idea or belief – ảo tưởng, ngụy biện.
21. Modified -> Modify (v): change / revise / alter – thay đổi.
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