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What does the nature/nurture debate in Psychology involve ?

The nature/nurture debate is possibly the most famous dichotomy in Psychology.  Psychologists have long wondered whether characteristics, behaviours and traits of an individual are due to nature, the genes you were born with, or nurture, the environment and the impacts it has on you throughout life.  

Naturists who support for the nature side of this debate argue that it is genes and only your inherited genes from your mother and father which influence behaviours in everyday life and environment plays no part.

Empiricists on the other hand, support the nuture side, and argue that our behaviours and characteristics are due to learning and through the environmental cues we encounter.  

An example which supports the nurture side is behaviourism.  This was a huge part of Psychology which came from famous psychologists such as John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner who invented the Skinner box. Behaviourism took the stance that humans are all a black box and that the only thing which influences us is external cues.  It worked on the idea that anything unobservable could not be measured.  

The current view to resolving this dichotomy is that it is a mixture of both inherited genes and environment which influences your behaviours and personal characteristics.  

Laura P. A Level Psychology tutor

2 years ago

Answered by Laura, an A Level Psychology tutor with MyTutor


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