Nurture Plus Nature

Raegan Robb
Dec.9th 1996

The classic debated topic of nurture versus nature has been, and always
will be an argumentative subject in the scientific world. Some psychologists and
scientists share the view that our behavioral aspects originate only from the
environmental factors of our upbringing. While other opposing specialists argue
the outlook in science that agrees with the naturalist idea. This concept of
naturalistic ideas supports the hereditary genetic framework, inherited from our
parents, is the sole determining factor in our behavioral characteristics. These
two opposing viewpoints have produced a multitude of ideas, theories, and
arguments in the history of psychology.
John Broadus Watson, the father of American behaviorism, greatly
reinforced the source of nurture by studying learned and adaptive behavior
patterns in our environmental surroundings (Rathus p.13). During this same time
of revolutionary ideas in psychology, American psychologist, Arnold Gesell
supported the opposite views of Watson. Gesell theorized that "physical and
motor growth and development is monitored and regulated by an automatic natural
process"(Rathus p.13). Each of these ideas has persisted strongly in the world
of psychology from the nineteenth century on into the twentieth, but now a new
and united psychology world acknowledges both theories equally. It is imagined,
today, that the explanation of our behavioral characteristics originates from
both our heredity, and the environment in which we were raised.
This report supports the theory that both aspects of nurture, with the
addition of nature are involved in and explain our complete behaviors. Many
studies and experiments have been conducted in recent years of psychology to
give this combined idea its appealing thesis. A great deal of research and
experimentation has been conducted in order to solve the puzzling results that
derive from situational differences in being raised. The different causes and
effects of various situations, focus on the actual importance, and necessity of
proper nurturing in childhood development (Turecki). Studies on the early
developing years in children show how effects of various environmental
situations can cause mixed attitudes, personalities, beliefs, sexual preference,
and other behavioral patterns in children (Turecki & Adams).
For example, studies have been conducted on whether children that have
been raised by single parents are going to develop differently than if both
natural parenting members were present through a child\'s infancy and adolescents.
There are also cases being studied about step parenting, or entirely different
parenting with the process of adoption. With a shocking change of one or both
parents in any stage of life, attitudes, and reactions are apt to become altered
with a new lifestyle. Also with step or adopted parents, entirely different
siblings could possibly become added to the family structure, altering the
environments of all affected children. Psychologists have found that, although
various situational differences can be traumatic in a child\'s life, the
influence of the upbringing environment doesn\'t overshadow the hereditary
source of behavior (Rathus p.112).
Extreme concern has also risen about the effects of such traumatic
childhood events and genetical characteristics on sexual orientation. The
subject of gay or lesbian parenting is also a major concern not only in
psychology, but for many people around the world. Psychologists wonder if the
affects of this erratic situational difference will result in a inner-conflict
between a child\'s hereditary instincts and environmental behavior. Although the
factors of genetics may have a small deciding component to sexual orientation,
psychologist John Money, concluded that "sexual orientation is not under the
direct governance of chromosomes and genes" (Rathus p.367-368). Children from
these conditions have usually been found to acquire a more admissible attitude
towards homosexuals through this altered environmental upbringing. However,
children raised in these same conditions may, or may not display homosexual
tendencies determined by both genetic factors and environmental experiences.
In other exceptions, children often develop problems even though their
environment seems to be entirely common. Psychologists have come to question
the quality of the relationship between parent and sibling, and also the raising
and discipline methods. Take the example of a naughty or extremely hyperactive
young boy raising hell, and throwing tantrums out in public. When we witness
children in this category, we often automatically think, "Why doesn\'t his mother
control him?" We assume that the cause of his behavior problems can be found in
his environment, possibly poor parenting techniques. This false assumption,
however, may be an unfair judgment upon actual quality parenting. Recent
researchers have shown that children may be born with a variety of personality
characteristics which can lead to behavioral problems, and are not related to
poor parenting techniques (Turecki).
Psychologist and twin researcher David Rowe stated that "Parents should
be blamed less for kids who have problems and take less credit for kids who