By Rachel Long, 1 Oct. 2012
Arguably one of the most important discussions within psychology, the concept of nature versus nurture has been the source of many detailed studies. Nature refers to genetics and DNA, basically inherited genes along with parents and family influences whereas nurture focuses more on the environment and external influential factors, such as the area where you grew up and the places you lived. Social scientists have struggled with this issue for centuries, whether our development is born (nature) or made (nurture).
Most people, when asked this question, will automatically say that the biggest deciding factor when discussing our development is nature. This could often be because people assume that before a person develops a particular trait they must posses the propensity for it, which is true. Personality traits are usually found to be inherited and certain traits can even be found within other family members.
Attitude can also be pinned down to nature. Depending on your parents and how you behave and interact at home, that alone can nearly completely mould your attitude and sense of self and humour. Parental roles shape and dictate the way you speak and behave, as well as going hand in hand with knowing right from wrong and being a morally good person. Early childhood is possibly the biggest aspect of primary socialisation and your parents ultimately have the major influencing factor in the development of the type of personality you will grow to possess.
However, the main factor within secondary socialisation is school. This will then all depend on nurture. Instinctively, you will interact and be the person you parents brought you up to be but this isn’t to say that these roles and values won’t be challenged. Schooling plays a vital part in a child’s upbringing and development, as modern day children spend more time at school with their teachers than at home with their parents. School also doesn’t just mean primary school, socialisation happens at school continuously up until university, with teachers and other students opinions and behaviours taking a huge toll a certain persons development.
Nurture hugely depends on the country you grow up in and the culture that you are exposed to. Areas that are less economically developed have completely different ideologies and traditions when it comes to bringing up children and how they are to be treated and treat others. Your economic situation greatly influences your development, both within the nature and nurture.
As always, the media plays more of a role within development than people ever take into consideration. From birth, people are exposed to adverts on television or on the radio that subconsciously affects the way that we think and behave. Unlike culture or the country you’re born in, the media is completely based on the nurture side of this discussion. Nowadays, the media is becoming more and more like an epidemic and it is impossible to avoid the constant flash of trends and opinions which heavily and undoubtedly shape us to societies standards and ideas.
Obviously, there is no clear answer or reasoning as to if nature of nurture is more important or influential within development. Personally, the only time that the subject can be taken as a one is when the topic of development is being discussed. When development has to be broken down, there is no clear line and justifiable explanation as to which side of the development argument is more important.