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Nature vs. Nurture

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posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 06:14 PM
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This is a question that people have been asking for a very long time. Experts have their opinions, yet for every study we come across to indicate something, we find another to prove otherwise. My goal here is to thoroughly examine both aspects of this age old question, and see what members of ATS have to say about it.

Have our genetics played the determining role in the person we become, or is the environment we live in determining who we are?

Right from the moment of conception, external factors begin to act upon the embryo. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the central nervous system is developed, and any drug the mother ingests, may lead to permanent damage to the child. So, we are a product of our environment. Right? How great would it be if it were that simple. Our genetics obviously determine the person we are at birth, but I strongly believe that it is our environment that will ultimately determine the person we become.

Arnold Gessell, a maturationist, belives that a child will develop physically regardless of their environment. At this month, this happens, at this month, this will happen, by one year, a child can walk, etc., this is the understanding of a maturationist. They can defend their message by several studies. Nomads are known to keep their child with them at all times. The child is normally bonded to the mother and remains tied to her body for most of the first year. With the lack of movement, the child loses out on its crawling phase, lifting its head at a young age, etc., yet when they do first put the child down, within a few days he/she can walk. The child needed very little practice, just had the ability at this age. I disagree with this, but I do not deny the findings.

Other studies took separate children and had some play with blocks and practice climbing stairs, while the others did not have a chance to practice. At a certain age, they compared the two groups. The children who practiced with the blocks had a slight edge than those who did not, but when it came to climbing stairs, the children with no practice were often found to climb much better. With no practice at all. It is studies like this, that have maturationists banking their beliefs on.

Personally, I have to disagree with them. I believe these studies are nothing more than a tool of disinformation towards others that indicate a child needs practice. A child needs to socialize. Maturationists believe that a child can be tossed into a situation and quickly adapt.

If a child is kept to them self, with no social interaction, he/she will not develop naturally. Children who were raised with no interaction become very hardened. They do not cry, they rarely speak, when they become older they are severely handicapped with social skills. Interactionists believe that it is the environment that plays the largest role in the development of young children. I agree with this. A mothers love is one of the most important aspects of raising a young child.

So what do you agree with? Are you a maturationist? Or are you an interactionist?

Me? I think they are both nonsense. I think they are both tools of disinformation. On both sides of the coin we have absolutely brilliant men, who spent their life time trying to prove that their belief was correct. I applaud them on it, but how the hell can you deny the other? I fully support nurture, more so than nature, but how can you believe one does not play any role?

Gessell, Skinner, Watson, & Bandura, these guys were brilliant. Yet they were hell bent that their side was right, and there was no other way. I believe both are forms of disinformation.

It is obvious that our environment plays an enormous role in the person we become. But it is also just as obvious that our genetics play a very large role as well. Anyone who says that it is one, and only one, is taking a narrow minded approach and trying to deny countless studies. I believe some of the studies that we read of took a very biased approach when they reported some of their findings.

With this theory, I believe we need to look at another theory to fully understand it. The Continuum theory is what I believe we need to look at to fully understand. It is not one or other, it is gray. Just like everything else in life. There are no constants, just a combination of everything.

At one end we have Nature, at the other we have Nurture, and each child is placed in the middle somewhere. I believe my environment has played the biggest factor in my upbringing. So I would place myself closer to the nurture end. Someone who had their genetics play a large role in their upbringing, would be placed closer to nature.

We are always a combination of both. Prejudice? No one can ever say they have never had a prejudicial thought. We all have them to some degree. Albeit a very small degree, but still, a degree. It is human nature to assume. We try to minimize it if we can, but it still happens.

So now I turn to the members of our site. I look to your thoughts and opinions on this subject. Maturation? Interaction? What do you believe? Is it one or the other? Is it a combination of both? Do you agree with my continuum belief?

I am normally open to all opinions, but on this one I believe I have come down and come down for good. I believe it is a degree on the continuum.

And my final question, does anyone else agree that a lot of these studies are a tool of disinformation?


[edit on 29-11-2006 by chissler]




posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 01:01 PM
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I have to say I think it's wrong to just take one side of things and say "That's the way." Life is so much more complex than that. Of course we have natural basic instincts and children can function, albeit not as well, without interaction just by acting on instinct alone. However it's the interaction with people that seems to shape a child's life the most. For instance, children that were abused tend to recreate the cycle and abuse themselves unless they were one of the lucky ones with enough introspect to break the chain of abuse.

Genetics also seem to play a big role. I find it interesting how much my daughter is like her father even though he never spent much time with her. Her mannerisms are more like his than mine even though she lived with me her whole life.

I have found that for most things in life, moderation is the key. Rarely do you find an instance where one or another extreme is the answer to a question. It usually lies somewhere in the middle.



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by closettrekkie
I have to say I think it's wrong to just take one side of things and say "That's the way." Life is so much more complex than that.


Agreed. I think it is tough to take a stance on anything. I often do take stances, but openly admit my right to change my mind, at any time.


But this Nature vs. Nurture question is something I have looked into the last little while, and to be honest, it has frustrated me. I've read articles of brilliant men, that were so openly biased and ignoring the findings of other studies. I've read their studies where they firmly believe their study is more relevant than another's.

It is not enough to proclaim yourself a maturationisnt or an interactionist. In my opinion, it goes much deeper than either of those.

A study I read last night was of the Colorado Adoption Project. This has been a project that has been running for thirty years, and has countless pages of information. Their initial effort consisted of 245 adoptive families, and 245 non-adoptive families. The children were studied at years one, two, three, & four. Their findings actually shocked me.

It was found that children who were with their adoptive parents from a very young age, were more prone to have an IQ in the same vicinity as the adoptive parents. This was expected, and I fully agree. However, it was also discovered that the child's disposition was not influenced by the adoptive parents, regardless of how long they had been with them. So, from their study, they determined that our IQ is influenced by our environment, but our dispositions are predetermined from our genetics.

This, I have a tough time believing. I believe we are a product of our environment and our intelligence, personality, tendencies, etc., all come from our experiences. Our genetics pave the roads, but our environment determines which road we travel.

Lastly, is the main purpose of this thread.

Is Nature vs. Nurture just a method of disinformation?



Disinformation:

erroneous material intentionally promoted to confuse, distract and otherwise make it more difficult to determine the truth. Some disinformation is amplified by well-meaning persons who unwittingly adopt the material without understanding that it is not genuine. ...

www.oilempire.us/dictionary.html


What do you think? How can these great minds actually believe it can be one without the other?

Are their studies a tool of disinformation?



[edit on 30-11-2006 by chissler]



posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 04:15 PM
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I'm not sure I would call it disinformation per se. At least not intentional disinformation. I would think it's more a case of inflated egos on the part of these "great minds". They get so wrapped up in their own little world and don't want to admit that they are wrong. At least that's the impression I get from some professors and such.

As far as what you said about a child's disposition being mainly influenced by genetics, I totally believe that. Like I said, my daughter is much more like her father even though she didn't live with him. I'm more of an emotional person than she is and her sense humor is more like his.



posted on Dec, 14 2006 @ 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by closettrekkie
I'm not sure I would call it disinformation per se. At least not intentional disinformation. I would think it's more a case of inflated egos on the part of these "great minds". They get so wrapped up in their own little world and don't want to admit that they are wrong. At least that's the impression I get from some professors and such.


I too thought the same. The ego's these guys had can still be seen today. But the more I thought, the more I examined it from all angles. I was reading through different experiments, and it hit me. Disinformation!

I honestly believe that these guys created experiments to confuse the public on the subject. There findings proved nothing, yet they based so much on it. Smoke Screens!


Originally posted by closettrekkie
As far as what you said about a child's disposition being mainly influenced by genetics, I totally believe that. Like I said, my daughter is much more like her father even though she didn't live with him.


The crux of the issue.

My question is: Does that prove anything?

If your daughter is like her father, whom she does not live with, is that an indicator of genetics? Or is it pure coincidence? How many other people does she behave like?

I am slightly hypocritical here. Because when I look at my father, or my brother, I see myself. It is tough to not believe in genetics when I look at them, but for the sake of discussion, I am willing to play devil's advocate.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 06:22 PM
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I am an adopted child, and got to meet my birth mom in my mid 30's. I was amazed at how much like her in personality I am, and physically as well.

On the other hand, I have an adopted older brother (we're not genetically related) who I have talked to very infrequently since I was around 22. When I do speak to him, I'm always struck by how some of my speech patterns mimic his. Even when I hear myself on a recording (like voice mail) I notice the simularity. I also find myself saying things that I got from my father.

What does this prove? Nothing in a clinical sense, but it certainly does reinforce my belief that both nature and nurture are important factors. It seems to me that those who would argue otherwise, like where sexuality is concerned, have an agenda to push.





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