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How Nurture Is More Dominant Than Nature

1349 words - 6 pages

Nurture plays a more dominant role in human development than nature
Undoubtedly, humans are unique and intricate creatures and their development is a complex process. It is this process that leads people to question, is a child’s development influenced by genetics or their environment? This long debate has been at the forefront of psychology for countless decades now and is better known as “Nature versus Nurture”. The continuous controversy over whether or not children develop their psychological attributes based on genetics (nature) or the way in which they have been raised (nurture) has occupied the minds of psychologists for years. Through thorough reading of experiments, studies, and ...view middle of the document...

However, the question remains: how much of our personality and development is a result of our childhood? The "Little Albert" experiment was a famous psychology experiment conducted by behaviourist John B. Watson. In the past, Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, conducted a variety of experiments demonstrating classical conditioning of dogs. This made Watson curious and he was interested in taking Pavlov’s experiment further as he wanted to show that emotional reactions could also be conditioned in people. The experiment consisted of an infant and a white rat, to which the infant initially showed no sign of fear. When the rat was first placed alongside the child better known as “Little Albert”, he appeared fascinated and undaunted by the creature. However, when the researchers paired the rat with a loud noise, Albert became scared. From that point on, Albert would immediately begin to cry at the simple sight of the rat, even though the noise was gone. After Albert was taught to fear the rat, Watson continued the experiment and introduced the small child to other furry objects including a dog, a synthetic ‘Santa Claus’ beard and a black rat. Albert feared all of these variables and Watson believed Little Albert was taught to fear. Watson used this experiment to verify his theory that infants were blank slates, and their surroundings were to blame for the way they behaved. This experiment helped prove to people around the world that a child’s behaviour was determined by the manipulation of that child’s environment. This makes me realise that a child is affected by its environment and its influence and it seems to be obvious to me that behaviourism and nurture have a more profound effect than nature on the way in which a child behaves.
Similarly, the argument over whether or not killers are born or bred also plays a vital role in the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate. Are some people born to be able to kill? Are they genetically encoded to commit cruel crimes or are these people products of their own environment? It has been proven that serial killers more often than not share a list of common characteristics. The most frequent characteristic found in serial killers is a dysfunctional background. In the majority of cases, a dysfunctional background involves physical or sexual abuse, drug use or domineering parents. One example of a dysfunctional childhood in a serial killer is that of Ed Kemper. It was soon after his parents’ divorce that Kemper first started to display sociopathic traits. Initially, he would recreate murder scenes with his sisters’ dolls before beheading the Barbies but this quickly developed into an extremely intense hatred for all females. This severe hatred eventually led to him going on a killing spree and murdering over ten people, three of whom were family members. As a child, his mother would frequently...

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