Upon researching the issue of nature vs. nurture both elements direct influence upon human development, it is clear that there is no definite way to argue if one plays a greater or not. Upon further understanding it is only fair to propose that both play a significant role in human development and shaping his or her character. At this point in discovery, it is only safe to comment that there are a number of different factors that come into play given the randomness of our society. The paragraphs below establish a strong argue for equal influence in one's development. However, there is one important detail to note at this time in that throughout human development there are periods of time where one may play a greater emphasis than the other depending on the stage. There are times in one's life where nurture will be more important and nature will take a back seat. The same is true in the reverse scenario.
The nature vs. nurture debate has been a classic controversy among experts for centuries. Presently, there is no clear conclusion to the dispute; yet, there are many hypotheses. Both sides of this controversy have been explored thoroughly among researchers. The purpose of this paper is to prove that the mental aptitude of a person is determined by his genetics, along with his environment, which affects it more.
The nature side of the discussion argues that a person maintains his or her mental ability only based on what he or she is born with genetically. Defending this side of the debate exclusively would be establishing that a person's environment plays no role in determining his or her intelligence. There are many reasons for an individual to be convinced that genes play a large part in a person's intelligence. When considering genetics, it is obvious that genes provide humans with their own physical equipment, which is in essence, their foundation for life. Genes and chromosomes are passed on from each generation to the next. Therefore, without heredity, humans would have nothing to pass on biologically to their descendants. This idea of genetics being purposeless is clearly incorrect. For instance, what happens when genes are exposed to a particular environment? Their blueprint can change if that environment is that of Chernobyl where many exposed infants have developed cancer.
Twin studies are rendered on sets of twins; these include both identical twins and fraternal twins. They are conducted to determine the comparative influence of heritability and environment (Morris and Maisto 82). "These studies determine the heritability of a trait: to what extent the differences among individuals are due to genes, rather than to environmental factors such as upbringing, nutrition, and schooling" (Wright). "Recent twin research showed that the genetic contribution to happiness and stability are about 50% and 80%, respectively, while life events have only a transitory effect on happiness" (Segal 55). Segal's concept is not directly concerning human intelligence; yet, if his statement is in fact true, it substantiates some importance of heredity convincingly. It indicates that heredity certainly does have a notable effect on a person. In general however, twin studies offer more support for the nature side of the debate (Morris and Maisto 82).
Adoption studies are somewhat similar to twin studies because they are conducted for related reasons. These studies consist of monitoring and testing children who are adopted. For them, researchers study the IQs in children, their birth parents and their adoptive parents. These studies also offer more support for the nurture side of the debate. Some of these studies have shown that heritability is about 48% influential in most humans (Hamer and Copeland 219).
In the other hand, many investigations have shown a person's environment plays a large role in his or her intelligence. This may be the less obvious influential factor on one's life. Though, considering the enormous impact of a human's surroundings and environment on his or her life, an in depth investigation should be taken examining this idea.
The amount of nourishment an individual receives has been proven to play a very large part in a person's mental ability. This is especially true regarding infants and young children. The human brain critically needs nutritious food and antitoxins to function properly, particularly in earlier years of development. Starving people across the globe show why lack of nutrients in human bodies can stunt mental evolution as well as physical growth. "What a premature infant eats in the first month of life can have lasting intellectual impact ... A new study finds" (Raloff).
A study done in Great Britain in the late 1980s shows nutrition plays a very large factor in a person's maturity. Adolescents aged twelve to thirteen were given vitamin and mineral supplements for eight months. These participants were then administered intelligence tests. Test scores were recorded before the test and after the test. These scores were also compared to other adolescents who were not given the supplements. The scores showed that the students who had taken the supplements scored higher on the tests after taking the supplements (Herrnstein and Murray 292).
A person's environment also plays an important role on his or her development starting in the first three years. Much research shows that people flourish from early stimulation. In an experiment done by H.M. Skeels using orphans, he proved this concept. Skeels focused on studying mentally retarded orphans. Once these children were placed with caring families permanently, and were encouragingly nurtured, their IQs increased remarkably (Hamer and Copeland 221). Other studies support this evidence. Kagan and Havermann define operant conditioning as the process by which, through learning, free operant behavior becomes attached to a specific stimulus (578). John Watson conducted a substantial experiment in 1913 concerning behaviorism. He has become well- known as the psychologist who played a large role in the research of behaviorism, which is a division of operant conditioning. Watson used an 11-month-old boy to prove that a person could be conditioned to be afraid of something by which he was not previously affected. The baby used, Albert, was put into a room with no other human and no other distracters present. Watson placed a white rat in the room. Albert seemed to like the rat; he even showed affection towards it. Some time later, Watson would produce a very loud and displeasing noise every time Albert would reach out to touch the rat. As a result, the baby became terrified of every white and furry object in which he came in contact. This distinguished investigation became known as the "Albert experiment" (Kagan and Havemann 94). This established that humans could be taught certain feelings and fears through their environment, with which they were not born (Morris and Maisto 15). Experiments such as these ones prove that a person's environment can have a crucial effect on him or her and on his or her manner of thinking and attitude. Much research followed experiments like Watson's. Psychologists have always been enticed by factors, namely environment, that affect humans.
It can also be proven that one's environment continues to have influence even in later adult years as such as events in the workplace. A professional connection begins at a fundamental level of human sociology where the use of story is central. Howard Gardner reflects, "the ultimate impact of the leader depends most significantly on the particular story that he or she relates or embodies, and the receptions to that story on the part of the audiences" (14). By telling stories, allows for a certain level of openness or vulnerability on the part of the leader and makes them human. By opening the line of communication, gives the employee knowledge of their environment and develops trust. The leader's role is to sell the idea of commitment within a culture. Odiorne suggests, "if employees know what is expected, and what help and resources are available, they can then be relied upon to govern their actions to achieve the commitments they have made" (138). This sets the stage for goals and achieving high performance but also creates a warm environment.
Adoption studies have also somewhat shown that a person's environment plays an important role in his mental ability. For example, a study done with adoptive children raised in the same house had very similar IQs. Granted this does not seem like considerable evidence; however, these children were in no way related genetically. Their environment growing up provided them with similar aptitudes for learning and for retaining information (Kagan and Havermann 39). "Fraternal twins (who share approximately half of their genes) present an informative contrast ... Because they are raised in the same environment but are not genetically identical, they help us to see the influence of environmental factors" (Segal 69). These factors are valuable to this argument.
Although certain twin studies are not completely clear in their findings, one specific study indicates that some children's environments have had significant influence on them. Much current research examines influences on intelligence. Researchers examine…