Nature Versus Nurture Research Essay: Violent Behavior

1158 words - 5 pages

The nature versus nurture debate is an ongoing debate among social scientists relating to whether ones personality/personal characteristics are the result of his/her inherited genetic traits or the result of environmental factors such as upbringing, social status, financial stability, and more. One of the topics that are discussed among psychologists is the study of violent behavior among people as a whole, and in particular, individuals. Social scientists try to explain why people commit acts of violence through explanation of either side of the nature or nurture schools of thought. However, the overwhelming amount of research done into the relation of violent behavior and the nature versus nurture debate indicated that nurture is the primary explanation to explaining violent behavior because violent traits are learned from adults, someone’s social upbringing is a major factor to why some people are more violent than others, and finally influences from news media, movies, and video games enhance the chance for someone to exhibit violent behavior. In conclusion, violent behavior is a complex issue without a clear explanation that is overwhelmingly supported by the nurture side of the debate.

The first reason why the nurture side of the debate provides more evidence towards understanding violent behavior is due to the fact that children learn violence through parents and other adults in their life. The first way children learn is that they imitate behavior that they observe from adults. A 1960’s study done which proves this is the Bobo doll experiment (Seifert, 2011) which came to conclusion that children acted violently towards a toy if it is beaten by adults. This proves the nurture opinion has the backing of a comprehensive study, thus proving that violent behavior is better explained through nurture besides nature. Scientists who back the nature points of view argue that personality traits such as violent behavior are inherited (Messum, 2008) but statistics show that children who have violent parents are more likely to become violent themselves. This study followed 540 children and their parents over a period of 20 years (“Children Learn”, 2003), and a trend was found that children who committed acts of violence also had a mother and/or father who were also violent. The importance of this study is that it proves that violent behavior is learned from adults, which proves that the nurture opinion scope is more valid to explaining violent behavior. The third and final way children learn violent behavior from adults is that children look up to adults as role models, and a negative role model tells children that negative behavior is the norm. A study of 659 African American, ninth-grade adolescents proves this as (Hurd et al., 2013); adolescent’s exposure to negative adult behavior was associated with violence was the result. The important is that it is solid proof that violent behavior is the result of nurture and is therefore the side that has...

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