The Nature Nurture Debate

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COPYRIGHT MICHAEL P M MHLANGA THE NATURE NURTURE DEBATE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDIVIDUALS. MICHAEL P M MHLANGA GREAT ZIMBABWE UNIVERSITY The concepts of nature and nurture shape the development of human beings. This write up sets out to assess the nature nurture debate, pinpointing the effects each has on the development of children. Terms that will be defined are nature nurture debate, nature and nurture. Feldman (2009) defines the nature nurture debate as the issue of the degree to which environment and hereditary factors influence the behaviour. According to Flanagan (2002) nature refers to behavioural or physical traits found in a developing child that are due to genetic factors. Feldman (2009:39) says “nature refers to hereditary factors, characteristics and tendencies that influence development.” Thus nature can be defined as inborn characteristics such as generic diseases evident in a developing child. Santrock (2004) defines nurture as environmental factors that have an influence on the development of a human being. According to Bernstein (2011) nurture refers to all environmental influence, after the birth of a child that affects development. Hence nurture can be called post natal factors that influence development of people. Lahey (2009) purports that genes and environment work together in a complex way to influence the psychological characteristics of children in what is known as gene environment correlation. Intelligence is an example of the relationship between genes and environment. Feldman (2009) believes that heredity defines people’s general level of intelligence setting an upper limit that regardless of the quality of environment, people cannot exceed. However, this level of intelligence cannot be realized without the input of environmental factors. Usually, children born by intelligent parents are provided with the enough
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