Sex vs Gender and Nature vs Nature Research Paper

  • Length: 12 pages
  • Sources: 30
  • Subject: Genetics
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #4959495

Excerpt from Research Paper :

sex vs. gender and nature vs. nature on a multi-disciplinary approach. We base our discussion on a variety of papers which we present as annotated bibliography. The papers are then used in the development of rest of the paper. We present our paper on the following views: religion, culture, norms, society etc.

One of the major issues that has attracted a lot of debate in this century in the field of psychiatry revolves around nature and nurture (Keltner et al., 2001).Nurture is used to refer to upbringing and nature refers to biological aspects of life.There is a raging controversy that revolves around hereditary environment with several historical evidences used in order to explain the connection between the two. The history locates the genesis of this debate to John Locke.It'd worth noting that this controversy has never stopped. This is because it still remains a major question as to how much an individual's character is attributed to heredity and how much of the character is as a result of the individual's transaction with the environment (Wachs, 1983).The late 19th century thinking which was Kraepelinian made a postulate of an organic causation. This indeed dominated the psychiatric thought of the day. The turn of the new century saw the thought and ideas attributed to this shift to a new revolution referred to as the Freudian revolution (Cohn,1974).The death of Freud saw the psychoanalytic thought mature and attain a more stable comprehension. It indeed made a bolt step towards the achievement of its goals. The entrenchment of the psychoanalytic thought into our hearts and culture took place in the periods of World War II.The proponents and advocates of nurture had a win in terms the earlier times. Later on however, the proponents of the biological view carried the day.Their win can be attributed to a number of factors such as:

Their colleagues who are more dynamic

Domination of more influential positions in academia

Control of various research directions

Access to findings

Various scholars have focused their debate on the nature/nurture controversy with a focus of determining the extent to which the level of intellect in an individual is determined by their intelligence which is inborn and by environmental factors.


In order to fully comprehend fully what nature and nurture is, it is necessary to ensure that we know what intelligence is. It is paramount to consider all schools of thought when dealing with this issue. Amongst all the words that are utilized in the contemporary context of psychology, intelligence has proved to be one of the hardest to define. This is coupled with a lot of controversy regarding its usage and quantification. The general consensus that is in use is that intelligence refers to the entire faculties of the mind that are used in the process of sorting of facts and information from an individual's brain once it has been perceived by the senses. It is important to note that the intellectual properties of the brain are interactive and dynamic as they relate to the central nervous system's capacity to initiate a timely response in an environment that is rapidly expanding.

The main controversy however lies on whether the inherited genes or certain other influences from the environment are in play in the determination of an individual's;

1. Personality

2. Behavior

3. Intelligence

4. Ability

5. Development

The controversy is most recognized and referred to as the conflict of nurture and nature.There is a group of individuals who believe that the environment has a huge role in determining our character while others believe that the genes are responsible. There is also a special group of individuals who have a strong belief that the human genome plays an integral part on the way we live.

Social scientists have for a long time struggled to come up with a decision on whether our personalities are made or born. As an illustration, there are tests that have been performed on identical twins who are separated in order to see how they both get influenced. Studies have shown that there is a genetic component attached to every element of human behavior and trait. The genetic influence on human trait and behavior has however been noted to be partial as a result of the fact that genetics has been noted to be responsible for about half of the fluctuations in most straights.A study by Bronfrenbrenner who is a geneticist concluded that;

"It is not nature vs. nurture, but the interaction of nature and nurture that drives development."

Most other researchers are also finding out that there exists a balance between environment and genetics. Factors those are fundamental to certain changes that take place in humans as we grow older. It has also been shown that people may react to others in a way that is influenced heavily by genetically influenced/controlled personality. This explains our behavior for choosing certain experiences since they best fit our instinctive choices and preferences. The meaning of this is that our experiences are a function of our genetic makeup. A method that has been used to measure the influence of genetics on the development of our traits and behaviors involves the monitoring of certain parameters through out the life of an individual under study.The conclusion that is usually drawn is that genetics has a strong role to play in an individual's trait as age advances. In order to illustrated this, we can consider a study that was carried out in order to find out whether environment or genetics had an influence on a child. It involved the exposure of a certain child to negative attention than his counterpart. The result indicated that chances were increased for the child exposed to negative attention developing depressive disorders as well as being engaged in anti-social behavior.

The meaning of Nature vs. Nurture

The use of the terms "nature" and "nurture" can be traced back to the 13th century. Certain classes of scientist do have a belief that individuals behave in the ways that they do as a result of their genetic predispositions. Yet again certain scientists do believe that people behave in certain ways a result of the animal instinct within them. The latter is referred to as the nature theory of a person's behavior. The former class of scientists does believe that people behave in certain ways as a result of the teaching that they receive in their daily lives. This is referred to as the nurture theory of an individual's behavior. The recent studies of the human genome have indicated that the views of both sides are considerably true to a large extent. This is because nature has endowed us with certain inborn traits and abilities; the role of nurture is to take these genetic tendencies and package them as we proceed to mature and learn.

Nature Theory (Heredity)

The work of several scientists over the years has shown that certain traits such as the color of the eye and that of the hair are determined by a specific group of genes that are specially encoded in the human cell. Nature theory considers this and takes it a step ahead to claim that certain abstract traits like intelligence, aggression, personality and sexual orientation are carefully encoded in a person's DNA.

The nature theory has the following postulates and progresses.

The process of searching for the "behavioral" genes has generated too much debate in the past and still is a source of heavy debate. There is however a fear amongst many that the basis of the genetics arguments might be exploited in order to justify divorce and criminal acts

One of the main issues that has most generated debates in relation to the nature theory is the postulate regarding the "gay gene"s existence that seeks to explain the genetic component of the human sexual orientation

If genetics was not involved, the case of fraternal twins who are reared under similar conditions would turn out to be the same irrespective of the difference in the makeup of their genes. Despite the fact that the studies show how closely the twins do resemble more than other non-twin sisters and brothers; there is also a very striking similarity whenever they are reared in separate conditions.

The Nurture Theory (Environment)

It is worth noting that there could be genetic tendencies involved in the determination of a person's traits and behavior. The proponents of the nurture theory do believe that the role of genetics usually does not matter in the end. They do believe that the various behavioral aspects of an individual do originates from factors of environment in which an individual has being brought up. The most compelling evidence of this theory has been documented from studies involving infant and children.

Here are a few highlights on this theory:

A famous American psychologist by the name of John Watson who is well-known for his numerous controversial experiments with a certain young orphan by the name of Albert did demonstrate that the process of acquiring a certain phobia…

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