Child Psychology: Nature Vs. Nurture
As far as controversies in child psychology go, there are few issues more widely debated than the issue of nature versus...
Child Psychology: Nature Vs. Nurture As far as controversies in child psychology go, there are few issues more widely debated than the issue of nature versus nurture. This hot button topic has been the source of many studies, experiments, reports and research over the past two centuries, yet still remains unsolved. Many researchers have sought to determine if a child’s heritage or environment plays a greater role on his or her development, but have been unable to clearly delineate which traits result from which factor. In modern child psychology, there are researchers who support the influence of nature, those who believe in the influence of nurture, and those who believe the two are intrinsically intertwined.
Nature Theory Points to Genetic Heritability Supporters of the nature side believe that a child’s development is primarily influenced by his or her biology. For years it has been perfectly clear to scientists that many of a child’s traits, such as eye color and hair color, are inherited through genes from the child’s parents. However, proponents of the nature theory also believe that many of a child’s other traits, such as personality, intelligence and even sexual orientation, may also be genetically influenced. Many researchers in child psychology have undertaken studies that look at twins separated at birth in order to determine their similarities. In many cases, these studies have found that despite growing up in separate environments, the twins still share fundamental similarities that go beyond coincidence. These studies lend support to the nature theory. Nurture Theory Focuses on Environment and Parenting Researchers on the side of the nurture theory disagree. They do not dispute the genetic importance of physical traits like eye color, but they believe that a child’s behavior and personality is far more a product of the child’s environment. In studying the child psychology of siblings, or even twins separated at birth, researchers have
found that children who are genetically related do not show similar behavioral patterns when they grow up in different environments. These researchers focus on factors like parenting styles, school environment, as well as extracurricular activities and communities. Regardless of biology, the environment the child grows up in leaves an indelible mark upon his or her behavior. Navigating the Connections Between Nature and Nurture With so much conflicting research, it can be difficult to discern which side is correct. That’s why many of those studying child psychology have decided that both the nature theory and nurture theory are inextricably linked. These individuals who support both sides of the debate believe that both a child’s genetics and environment play equally significant roles in determining the child’s behavior and personality traits. Interested in theories of psychology? Argosy University offers a wide selection of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of psychology concentrations at 19 locations across the nation. Click here to get in touch with a registration specialist.