~ Topic Discussion ~ 203 ~ Nature Versus Nurture ~

Nature Versus Nurture


Adapted from Wikipedia


The discussion regarding nature and nurture relates to the relative influence of an individual's innate qualities, or qualities attained at birth, as compared to an individual's personal experiences, or the qualities developed through socialization in family and community.





203Set ~ 2

1) Do you think there needs to be a debate about nature and nurture? Why or why not? Explain.

2) If socialization (from parents/others) affects children on a genetic level, how could this change parenting?

3) Think about the future of parenting in relation to technology. Describe advantages and disadvantages.

4) Describe your impression of the earth. How are the animals the same/different from us? Explain.

5) Do you think there were intelligent civilizations on this planet before us (e.g., Atlantis) Why or why not?

6) Do you think we should go to Mars? Why/why not? Why do you think humans wish to explore other planets?

7) Are there any traits in your personality that don¡¯t appear in your family? Where do they come from? Explain.


~ Follow up ~ Try to make some of your own questions regarding nature and nurture.

Adapted from Wikipedia


In a 2014 survey of scientists, many respondents wrote that the familiar distinction between nature and nurture has outlived its usefulness and should be retired. One reason is the explosion of work in the field of Epigenetics (epi = near, over and genetic = pertaining to DNA). Epigenetics refers to the notion that although genes are transmissible from parent to offspring, non-genetic factors (from the environment) cause the individual's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.


The developmental psychologist Erik Erikson used the term epigenetic principle to encompass the notion that we develop through an unfolding of our personality in predetermined stages, and that our environment and surrounding culture influence how we progress through these stages. This biological unfolding in relation to our socio-cultural settings, as accomplished in stages, depends on our "progress through each stage" and "is in part determined by our success, or lack of success, in all of our previous stages."


Most scientists believe that there is a long and complex journey from a particular set of genes (as a newborn child) to a fully developed human being (as an adult), and that this complexity—the interaction between nature and nurture—may never be completely understood. 

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~ TLW ~ Topics for Discussion ~ Page Two

~ Discuss with a teacher, in pairs, or in groups ~ Then share your results in a classroom discussion ~

1) To begin with, in groups or in pairs, select the questions you¡¯d like to talk about. 

2) Then, in pairs or in groups, ask questions and share ideas in your conversations .

3) Finally, share your ideas (as a whole) in a classroom discussion (with all pairs/groups).


For specifics, see TLW Classroom Lesson Procedures: Click here     Click to print QUESTIONS/QUESTIONS

203Set ~ 1 ~

1) In your own experience, which has been more influential in your development, nature or nurture?

2) How important do you think the first seven years of a child¡¯s life are? Compare to your own. Describe.

3) Can grandparents or other relatives influence a child¡¯s development? How? Give your own examples.

4) What genetic factors are present in your own family tree? How do you know? Why do you think so?

5) What elements of socialization (family or community) contributed to your development? Explain

6) If adults are genetically ¡°fully developed¡±, how can we explain personality (genetic) changes in adulthood?

7) What happens to the elderly on a genetic level when they are old. Can you reverse nature. How and why?


~ Follow up ~ Try to make some of your own questions regarding nature and nurture.

In other terms, nativism is the view that certain skills or abilities are "native" or hard-wired into the brain at birth. This is in contrast to empiricism, the "blank slate" view, which states that the brain has inborn capabilities for learning from the environment but does not contain content such as innate beliefs.

The philosopher, John Locke, presented the view that humans acquire all (or almost all) of their behavioral traits from being nurtured, or from being ¡°socialized¡±. This idea portrays the mind as a tabula rasa or "blank slate", a view proposing that humans develop mainly or entirely from environmental influences.


Recently, academics have suggested that certain genetic codes may be responsible for character traits in individuals. This hypothesis follows evidence involving the connection between individual genomes and certain diseases. There is an assumption that personality and other qualities may be genetically influenced as well.


In the twenty-first century, a consensus is developing that both genetic and environmental agents influence development interactively. These two approaches have influenced research agendas for a century. While genetic determinism holds that human development is primarily influenced by the genetic code of a person, socialization (above) emphasizes that the environment and family influence predominates.

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