There is growing evidence to support the claim that certain behaviors are in found hardwired in your DNA. Conventional thinking had usually been that children are always products of their environment and it is this ecological surroundings that often is at the root cause of either good or bad behavior. But looked at from another viewpoint, it could be possible that their environment, which is generated in large part by their parents, is a consequence of parental genetics as well and not the simply the environmental cause of the behavior. A recent research study at the University of Virginia concluded that:
naughty youngsters aren't simply copying behavior they may have been subjected to at home. Instead, traits such as bullying, lying, or being argumentative could be passed on in the genes. The research, from the University of Virginia, indicates that some children would be badly behaved no matter how loving or caring an environment they grew up in. ("Are Some Youngsters Simply," 2007, p. 25)
Then again what about child prodigies?
What was once though of as an innate propensity, gifted children or child prodigies' development may be attributable to parents' passionate efforts in care and nurturing. This has created a construct named the Potentiality-Enrichment Theory which identifies giftedness as a complex process which involves an amalgamation of, "ability, intrinsic motivation, and a cognitively stimulating home environment" (Bain, Choate & Bliss, 2006). There is considerable evidence that children who are gifted often receive positive feedback and enrichment form their families. However the final answer to the question remains uncertain. Is it because the family praises that these children are gifted, or is it because they are gifted that the family praises them? Although the jury may still be out on that, growing evidence concludes that it is certainly a combination of the two (Churchland, 2007, p.47).
The real beginnings of the nature vs. nurture argument as to which is the true source of individual difference in human beings truly began scientifically at the end of the nineteenth century. Although training children is as old and older than the Bible and the urge to allow them to grow naturally with no encumbrance from society was the certainly the Rousseau school of childhood development; it has only been in the last two hundred years that the debate has reached its current state. Furthermore, over the last two decades this debate has gained wider and wider scientific interest. The areas of behavioral genetics and developmental psychology have made scientist and researchers reassess many of their well worn truisms in order to cope with new evidence being provided by the research that there is a mutually arising aspect to development (Tremblay & Gagne, 2001, p. 173).
In fact, the more we learn about certain developmental concepts, the more we realize that the conventional way of labeling behaviors as innate or learned has certainly lost some meaning. Research into concepts like the 'black box' of language acquisition, which is certainly a learned behavior but children process it so quickly that there must be some innate predisposition to acquire it, adds fuel to this symbiotic fire. Consequently the language used is even changing, "Researchers tend to avoid the term innate with its connotations altogether, opting instead for the term inborn, which includes both genetic and experiential unspecified factors (Long, 2003, p. 36).
Are Some Youngsters Simply Born to Be Bad?. (2007, February 5). The Daily Mail (London, England), p. 25.
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