A debate between psychologist, scientists and philosopher thinkers on the spectrum of ‘nature vs. nurture’ arose concerning human development. In the nature versus nurture debate, the term "nature" refers to the genes we inherit while the term "nurture" refers to our outside environment (Nature vs. Nurture: Twin and Adoption Studies). This debate of ‘nature vs. nurture’ has existed for centuries and up to now it is still a topic of major discussion although at present time. Human development is the scientific study of age-related changes in behavior, thinking, emotions and personality (Boyd & Bee, 2005). In order to understand cognitive, emotional, physical, social and educational growth that everyone experiences from childhood until adulthood, we must first understand the influence and importance of child development. Different psychologists have different theories and concepts of child development. Grand theories often use a stage-by-stage approach while attempting to describe the areas of development. Mini-theories focus only on a fairly limited aspect of development, such as cognitive or social growth. (Cherry, Child Development Theories, 2011)
John Locke, a famous philosopher once introduced the concept of tabula rasa that defines a child’s mind as a ‘blank slate’ which can be written on and moulded by the society and environment. He believes that what we are is determined by the experiences we face. Plato, the Greek philosopher suggests that certain things simply occur naturally regardless of any environmental influence. However, Jean Jacques Rousseau describes humans in their state of nature as noble savages living in peace and harmony but due to civilization and advancement in society, humans are being corrupted.
We have people arguing that we are born with our personality traits and that our psyche is shaped by purely by internal biological factors like deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). On the other hand, there are people arguing that our personalities our moulded purely by external factors such as family, friends, teachers, and society as a whole (Spaulding, 2009). What is certain is that our heredity and DNA can carry traits which make us susceptible to mental disorders and psychopathology, which can have serious affects on personality (Spaulding, 2009). For instance, Down syndrome children have difficulty in communicating and understanding thus, causing them to be slow learners and anti-socialites. A person with a hypothalamus lesion may experience obesity or underweight that is beyond his or her control. However, the aspect of environmental influence (nurture) should not be entirely excluded. For instance, a person who has two obese parents can grow to be healthy and slender as healthy food is available for him or her.
Both nature and nurture plays a very significant role in the psychological and overall development of a child. Physical appearances and traits such as the colour of the hair or the height of...