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Nature versus nurture

The nature versus nurture debate involves whether human behaviour is determined by the environment,
either prenatal or during a person's life, or by a person's genes. The alliterative expression "nature and
nurture" in English has been in use since at least the Elizabethan period[1] and goes back to medieval
French.[2] The combination of the two concepts as complementary is ancient (Greek: ἁπό φύσεως καὶ
εὐτροφίας[3]). Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and
other biological factors. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception
e.g. the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual.[4]

The phrase in its modern sense was popularized by the English Victorian polymath Francis Galton, the
modern founder of eugenics and behavioral genetics, discussing the influence of heredity and
environment on social advancement.[5][6][7] Galton was influenced by the book On the Origin of
Species written by his half-cousin, Charles Darwin.

The view that humans acquire all or almost all their behavioral traits from "nurture" was termed tabula
rasa ("blank slate") by John Locke in 1690. A "blank slate view" in human developmental psychology
assuming that human behavioral traits develop almost exclusively from environmental influences, was
widely held during much of the 20th century (sometimes termed "blank-slatism"). The debate between
"blank-slate" denial of the influence of heritability, and the view admitting both environmental and
heritable traits, has often been cast in terms of nature versus nurture. These two conflicting approaches
to human development were at the core of an ideological dispute over research agendas throughout the
second half of the 20th century. As both "nature" and "nurture" factors were found to contribute
substantially, often in an extricable manner, such views were seen as naive or outdated by most scholars
of human development by the 2000s.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

The strong dichotomy of nature versus nurture has thus been claimed to have limited relevance in some
fields of research. Close feedback loops have been found in which "nature" and "nurture" influence one
another constantly, as seen in self-domestication. In ecology and behavioral genetics, researchers think
nurture has an essential influence on nature.[14][15] Similarly in other fields, the dividing line between
an inherited and an acquired trait becomes unclear, as in epigenetics[16] or fetal development.[17][18]

During the 1940s to 1960s, Ashley Montagu was a notable proponent of this purist form of behaviorism
which allowed no contribution from heredity whatsoever:
"Man is man because he has no instincts, because everything he is and has become he has learned,
acquired, from his culture ... with the exception of the instinctoid reactions in infants to sudden
withdrawals of support and to sudden loud noises, the human being is entirely instinctless."[23]

In 1951, Calvin Hall[24] suggested that the dichotomy opposing nature to nurture is ultimately fruitless.

The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest philosophical issues within psychology. So what
exactly is it all about?

Nature refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are—from our physical
appearance to our personality characteristics.

Nurture refers to all the environmental variables that impact who we are, including our early childhood
experiences, how we were raised, our social relationships, and our surrounding culture.

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How to write nature vs. nurture essay easily?

Nature vs. nurture is considered as one of the most debatable topic in the world of psychology.
Therefore, before proceeding to the essay outline, you should familiarize yourself with understanding of
nature vs. nurture. So, let us just discuss nature vs. nurture deeply.

Understanding Nature vs. Nurture

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Nature is all about those characteristics that are inherited from genes or from your parents. Nature
contributes to the personality through genetics such as:

Brain activation

Nature and behaviour


Nurture is about those characteristics which develops from experiences and environment. Nurture
contributes to the personality through influences such as:

Parental relationships

Environment and culture

Nature vs. Nurture Debate

Nature vs. Nurture is a debate about whether behaviour, personality and human culture caused by
nature or nurture. In this debate nature id defined as the genetic and hormone based behaviour, while
nurture is defined as the experience and environment.

History of the Nature vs. Nurture Debate

This debate is mainly about the effect of the genes on human personalities. In the 1960s, the people
influence theory of behaviourism. The founder of behaviourism was John Watson. It claimed that human
behaviours are acquired through conditioning. His experiment was successful in the beginning but failure
at the end. Because he ignored the important genetic factors, his ideas got criticised.

Factors affecting mental health of nature

Nature is the important factor in the development of health problems. For example- depression, bipolar

We cannot denied the important genetic factors.

The development of mental illness is not entirely genetic.

For e.g. In the case of identical twin, if one develops the condition than there will be 50% chance of
developing the same condition in the other twin.

Factors affecting mental health of nurture

There are certain genetic factors which may create problem for particular illness.

The condition will not develop with less severity. In addition, the habits of parents, friends contribute to
the development of an addiction.

Nature vs Nurture in children

The influences of nature vs nurture in children are:

In Terms of Personality
Influence of the parents– The habits of a child and that of a parent is similar in many ways. The child
usually follows his parent’s habits. They should spend quality time with their children’s. This suggests
that the bonding between the parent and a child is not from the birth. But the parents interact with their
children by birth. It is clear that parents must make sure that they create secure environment.

An effect of nature-As we all know that personality development is a lifelong process. Nature use the
genetic coding to help in the development and it impart some positive and the negative traits to an
individual. The children develop their personality or bent towards certain behaviour which parents
doesn’t indicate. In such situation, nature is at play in developing child’s personality.

In terms of Intelligence

Nature– The individual’s ability to achieve greatness indicates the reason of being successful because of
their parent’s intelligence. As a result the development in the early skills shows that child was “born
smart”. In this psychologists are mainly involving in two areas. Firstly, it includes the intelligence of an
individual. Secondly, other use to develop and refine the existing intelligence assessments.

Nurture– It includes the child’s educational background and how his parents have raised him. The credit
of the child’s success goes to the school system.

Applications of nature and nurture


Drug therapies treat the behavioural and psychological problems. It can also use to treat the depression.


You can adopt your environment influences, if your behaviour is liable and optimistic. For e.g. if you want
to help others then you should have a positive attitude towards life.

Nature and Nurture characteristics

nature vs. nurture essay_2

An individual tends to change the responses in other people. The characteristics are:

Temperament– It is the way a young child acts and responds to different situations. They refer to the
behavioural changes which do not occur due to parenting or caregiving. With a little understanding,
parents can avoid frustration in their children and themselves.

Natural Differences– Every child is different from each other. So, it’s also obvious that their adaption
habits also differ. Some finish their task early as compared to others. As a parent, you must ensure that
they are handling it with care and quality.

Nurturing Success– The important points for the caregivers are

Firstly, you can’t change the temperamental traits.

Secondly, you should be prepared to deal difficult aspects of your child’s behaviour. Either you create the
conflict or help them to have positive emotional and social behaviours.

Gender Differences: Nature vs. Nurture

Reaction of the people differs from boys and girls. This happens due to the expectation of masculine and
feminine characteristics. Gender differences is an ongoing debate and the main reasons behind this is
the social and biological differences.

Evolutionary Psychology

The evolutionary psychology refers to the differences between the gender and sexuality because of
evolution. This results in the strategies of differentiating between the men and women for success. This
theory helps in obtaining the reproductive skills and the generational success of the genes passed on
from the one generation to the other.
Factors of genes and gender

Genes plays an important role in differentiating the physical looks of males and females. However genes
and chromosomes contains the differences that can lead to the physical features that can appear
abnormal. Genes depicts the correlation between the individual’s genders.

Cognitive Social Learning Theory

In this theory the people learn from one another through observing, modelling etc. It also creates the
bridge between the cognitive and behaviourist theories. People do not learn the new behaviour
individually, they learn through the success or failure. Albert Bandura’s stated this theory. He explains
that how the children’s learn in social environments by observing the behaviours of others. He observed
that the adults are acting aggressively. They got the punishment after acting like this. He notices that
children’s are not imitating the aggressive behaviour as compared to the adults.

Nature vs. Nurture case studies

Twin study

Francis Galton was the first person who did this study. This study reveals that genes play important role
in the development of certain personality characteristics. In this, 80% of identical twins feel closer to
each other as compared to their friends.

Adoption study

To evaluate genetic and environmental influences you design Adoption study. This study provide some
challenges related to the adoption. It has increased the privacy laws and concerns related to the
biological parents. Recent changes in adoption study has occurred by combining the techniques and data
of adoptees.
Nature and Nurture in psychology

The nature vs. nurture debate is oldest issue in psychology. The branches of psychology often take one
approach from the other approach. Biology and environment both play an important role in the scientific
world. Even today, research in psychology often tends to emphasize an individual influence over the
other. The influences include the genetic factors that interact with each other.


Nature vs. nurture controversy is an old debate among philosophers, theories of consciousness result in
the creation of human personality. There are four humours of Hippocrates personalities:


They are the type of people who gets angry and lose their temper quickly. They cannot direct their anger
in the right decisions. Stress reduces a person’s tolerance and makes easier for him to lose his temper.
They become insecure and thinks that everyone is making fun of them.


They believe in themselves and their abilities. They visualize themselves in the best role and seek the
positive attitude towards life. Confident people are unique and special in many ways. They accept the
praise, compliments gracefully.


The reactions and the thoughts of moody person does not remains the same. It just depend upon their
moods. They give more priority to their feelings rather than others.

They are born leader, dynamic and active; independent and self-sufficient; seek the practical solutions to
problems; and move quickly to action.

Similarly, the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau theorised that people were born essentially good. Over
the years, research done on this controversy and at the end everyone agrees that both nature and
nurture play important role in human development.

Genes and behaviour

The genes are unable to assess the roles played by genetic factor in an individual’s behaviour. Scientists
are able to develop the screening test and then diagnose the children shortly after birth. From the
genetic point of view, physical traits such as color of a person’s hair haver higher heritable traits than


nature vs. nurture essay_3

The parts of nature and nurture are:


People are born with talent, which results in the specialisation at an early stage. There are clear and
measurable differences between people and their achievement. It is important because it relates to
success and achievement.
We are not born pretty, not psychologically or intellectually. With the help of right guidance and luck you
can improve skills.

Children’s belong to the middle class and wealthy homes, or having good genes is important in
determining the future success. Genes plays an important role in the future success of each child.


They think themselves superior from others. Psychopathy may include the early life factors, genetics and
the signs of psychopath. They are good at manipulating others. They do not show any emotions or
sympathy for others.

Causes of psychopathy:

-Abuse by the parents

-lack of parents involvement or separation from a parent

-Child physical abuse


The terms sociopath refers to someone who learns the immoral behaviour from the environment rather
than from their nature. Therefore, a sociopath will understand that something is sad or tragic and will
acknowledge that there are certain standards which people will label according to them. They obtain all
the information and the reactions of the people around them.

Differences between nature and nurture

Nature is inherited skills, whereas nurture refers to the personal skills.

It completely depends upon the heredity whereas nurture does not depend upon the heredity.

Nature includes the genes which are determined by physical factors and personality traits. On the other
hand, nurture refers to your childhood or the way you grown up.

It includes the biological and family factors whereas the nurture includes the social and environment

In nature, behaviour is the result of genetic, inherited structure whereas in nurture, behaviour is the
result of learning from the outside peers and religion.

Nature is also known as innate behaviour whereas nurture means learned behaviour.

We have just discussed the explanation part of nature vs. nurture. So, now you will discuss the nature vs.
nurture essay.

Nature vs. Nurture essay structure

The structure of nature vs. nurture essay will be:

Paragraph 1- Introduction

Paragraph 2- Body 1

Paragraph 3- Body 2

Paragraph 4- Body 3
Paragraph 5- Conclusion

Tips to write nature vs. nurture essay easily

Your main idea should be that your essay must contain the proper explanation of nature vs. nurture.

The content should be easily understandable.

Topic should match with your main idea

Use only single sentence

Explain topic sentence clearly, so that your audience will understand it.

It should also contains the nature vs. nurture essay sample

Aims of Nature vs. Nurture Essay

To be able to describe at least one study which supports the both nature and nurture.

The essay should be easily identify the applications and problems which relates to the topic.

The essay should evaluate the topic

Nature vs. nurture essay should be able to understand the meaning of nature and nurture and the ways
to identify the assumptions.
Try to explain each point with examples for the better understanding

Maintain a flow in the whole essay

Outline of nature vs. nurture essay

The outlines of nature vs. nurture essay are:

Firstly, give a brief description of nature vs. nurture definitions and their importance.

Secondly, illustrate all the relevant studies which are part of nature and nurture.

Thirdly, compare and contrast the impact on the case studies in regards to nature and nurture.

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