Nature vs. Nurture Examples

Nature vs. Nurture

One of the longest philosophical discussions can be summed up in three words: nature versus nurture. The center of this discussion entails where a person receives individual differences regarding things like behaviors, intelligence, sexual orientation, and personalities. One side of the discussion is that these characteristics are determined by nature and the other side of the discussion is they are determined by nurture. Nature is those things acquired by genetic or hereditary influences. Nurture on the other hand is those things that are influenced by the environment we live in. Nature can be said to be given whereas nurture can be said to be learned. Anyone who feels we are strictly hereditary beings have little hope for change. Those who find the environment a big influence in change could possibly find that change is much easier.

There is clear evidence in things like eye and hair color that suggest that hereditary influence not only exists, but cannot be changed. However, when it comes to behavior and intelligence the belief is not so clearly defined. Are people influenced more by nature or nurture? Is there one answer that is more correct than the other? The debate continues.

Examples of Nature vs. Nurture:

1. High blood pressure and obesity

An example of this debate is whether high blood pressure and obesity is a health risk that is passed genetically from parent to child. Does a person acquire the risk of high blood pressure or become obese merely because the parent developed the same risk? Nature advocates argue that genetics have a high impact on obesity and high blood pressure. Nurture proponents point to the poor eating habits that cause obesity and the limited ability to regulate personal habits that lead to high blood pressure.

2. Homosexuality

Another example and one of the most debated topics on nature versus nurture today relates to homosexuality. Nature proponents believe that homosexuality is genetic or outside of a person's control. Nurture proponents believe that homosexuality is a choice or a behavior influenced by environmental factors.

3. Occupation

A person's ability to perform in a certain occupation also leads to a nature versus nurture debate. If a child follows in a parent's footsteps in a given career, someone might suggest a natural inclination toward the craft. Others might point to the nurturing that took place in the home as the child was being raised by that particular parent. This easily could have been then product of a learned behavior. For example, when a professional athlete has a child that also becomes a professional athlete, is that nature or nurture. Was the athletic ability passed genetically through birth or was it a behavior learned through countless hours of repetition and practice.

4. Personality

The development of personality is often part of the nature versus nurture debate. People want to know how children develop their personalities. Is personality an influence of the parent through genetics or learned traits from their environment. Because a child acts like a mother suggest that they were predisposed to the hereditary influence of the mother. However, nurture advocates would suggest that growing up under the direct presence of the mother it was a learned personality, not genetically passed.

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