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Nurture Plays A More Dominant Role In Human’s Development Than Nature

1176 words - 5 pages

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 on whether or not children develop their psychological attributes based on genetics (nature) or the way in which they have been raised (nurture) has pondered the minds of psychologists for years. Through thorough experiments, studies, and discussions however, it is easy to see that nurture is far more important in the development of a human than nature.

The Nature versus Nurture argument can be traced back many millenniums ago. In 350 B.C., philosophers asked the same question on human behaviour. Plato and Aristotle were two philosophers that each had two diverse views on the matter. Plato believed that knowledge and behaviour were due to inherent factors, but environmental factors still played a role in the equation. Conversely, Aristotle had different views. He believed in the idea of “Tabula Rasa”.

The Blank Slate theory supported the nurture side of the argument and believed that everyone was born with a ‘Tabula Rasa’, Latin for ‘Blank Slate’. He proposed that “people learn and acquire ideas from external forces or the environment”. In other words, he believed that the mind is a blank slate and it is our experiences that write on these slates. This theory concluded that as humans, we are born with minds empty of ideas and at birth we have no knowledge or awareness of what we should act like. Thus, it seems self evident that things such as personality, intellect, sexuality, phobias and habits are all created new and that thoughts are created firstly by the introduction different variables to ones life and secondly through reflection on that experience.

However, the questions remain: 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 he initially shown no sign of fear to. When the rat was initially 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 got scared. In effect, 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...

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