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Nature versus Nurture

Nature versus Nurture

Sample Answer 

Nature versus Nurture

The nature versus nurture argument centrally lies on whether human character or behavior is shaped by an individual’s inherited genetic makeup or by the social and environmental factors (nurture), either prenatal or postnatal. According to most sociologists, the ‘nature vs. nurture argument has a long history and has been in place since the medieval French period as well as the Elizabethan Era (Fog, 2017). The supporters of ‘nature’ tend to suggest that human character is shaped by hereditary and biological factors, especially genes. This class of thought draws its support from Mendel’s principle of inheritance or passing of genes (discrete units) from parents to offspring. On the other hand, the advocates of nurture contend that environmental variables impact human life or behavior, including early childhood experiences, upbringing, social relationships, and the surrounding culture. At an individual level, I believe nurture significantly influences human beings, shaping their character, personality, and many other things. In this paper, I tend to detail why the environment is more important than the inherent genetic factors in defining humans.


Based on recent studies and experience, I believe that nurture or environmental factors play a more critical role in determining human behavior and personality than biological or genetic factors. The evidence collected by empiricists undoubtedly confirms that the human mind at birth is void or empty (commonly termed as a tabula rasa) but systematically fills up as one grows and gains experience. The theory of behaviorism, a psychological method that emphasizes objective and scientific techniques, best explains this argument (Bryant et al., 2013). The behaviorist approach, which is mainly concerned with visible stimulus-response characteristics, affirms that all behaviors are acquired or learned through human interaction with the environment. This learning theory seemingly negates the effect of innate or inherited factors, with humans supposedly learning new processes through operant or classical conditioning.

The main reason such theories are seemingly perceived as correct is the fact that the majority are based on empirical evidence collected through carefully controlled observations and measurements. Therefore, based on the behaviorist point of view, all psychological traits and character variations from infancy through childhood are learning outcomes. Such empiricism arguments propose that the way humans are nurtured (brought up) governs the mental essential of child growth, with the scheme of maturation only applicable to the biological aspect.

Therefore, several social behaviorist scientists have systematically explored the possibility of the environment impacting human development and behavior. For example, Bandura’s (1977) theory of social learning posits that operant conditioning and classical conditioning affect human development. However, Albert adds that behavior is mainly acquired from the environment through observational learning, and mediating processes take place between responses and stimuli. The observational learning process proposes that children learn by observing what others (models) are doing in society. In this case, the models include influential persons such as parents, TV personalities, school teachers, and peers. These models serve as examples of behavior that kids copy or imitate. Youngsters pay more attention to these models and encode their mannerisms.

Freud also noted the important role played by parents in influencing child behavior. The theorist suggested that mental growth in kids occurs in a broad range of fixed psychosexual steps, including oral, anal, phallic, latency, as well as genital. Each stage represents a vital libido fixation, which is commonly termed as sexual instincts or drives. Freud implies that as a human develops physically, certain body parts become essential as resources of possible frustration. He theorized that life consists of pleasure and round tension, with the latter occurring due to sexual energy (libido) and the former from its release (Freud, 1997).

Even though the social environment plays a significant role in shaping human character and behavior, the part represented by genomes cannot also be neglected. They are an interaction between the environment and the genes. There is arguably a broad range of research in biology, especially medicine, that points to the fact that human behavior or personality is strongly influenced by inheritance, especially in both genomes of the parents (Plomin & Spinath, 2014). Nativism, the extreme nature position, proposes that the inherited paternal or maternal traits primarily affect certain physical features of the offspring. For example, attributes such as the color of the eyes, skin pigmentation, curly or straight hair, blonde hair, and specific diseases like Huntingdon’s chorea result from inherited genomes.


Between the nature and nurture argument, I believe the latter supersedes the former in influencing human behavior. The sociological factors and environment that children are brought up in fundamentally alter their upbringing and future. However, the interaction of the environment and the biological factors (genes) also plays a central role in shaping human development. Some aspects, like skin color or hair, can never change whether the environments are switched or not.


Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall.

Bryant, L. C., et al. (2013). Behaviorism and behavioral learning theory. In B. J. Irby, G. Brown, R. Lara-Alecio, & S. Jackson (Eds.), The handbook of educational theories (p. 91–103). IAP Information Age Publishing.

Fog, A. (2017). Warlike and peaceful societies: The interaction of genes and culture. Open Book Publishers.

Freud, S. (1997). The interpretation of dreams. Wordsmith Classics of World Literature.

Plomin, R., & Spinath, F. M. (2004). Intelligence: genetics, genes, and genomics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86 (1), 112–129.


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Nature versus Nurture


Assignment Overview

This written assignment will investigate the effects of social interactions and heredity on human nature.

Case Assignment

  • Assignment: Nature Versus Nurture


Nature versus Nurture

Nature versus Nurture

  • Define human nature and factors that affect human nature
  • Describe sociological interactions in everyday life and the factors that affect them

Review the information in the lesson on socialization and nature versus nurture. Chose the side of the debate that you believe has the greatest effect on human nature. Do some research online to support your opinion.

  • Is there a lot of information to support your side of the debate?
  • Is there more or less information to support the other side?

Write a 2- to 3-page paper in which you support the nature or nurture side of the debate.

Nature versus Nurture

Nature versus Nurture

  • Do innate qualities or socialization ultimately shape who we become?
  • What information did you find which best supports your theory?
  • Use information and terminology from the lesson to support your claim as well.

Assignment Expectations

  • Be sure to review the background materials and do some research on your own.
  • Provide at least three citations in the paper and include a reference list.
  • All statements should be supported.
  • Use APA style, and proofread your paper.

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