Essay heredity and environment

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Child Development: Heredity and Environment Essay -- mental disorders,

In no way can the environment and hereditary factors be sorted out in two exclusive categories. As in most aspects of development, there is always the question, which is more important for personality-heredity or environment. Today, a middle-of-the-road interpretation is being accepted in place of the extreme views, which placed the whole emphasis either on heredity or on environment.


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It is now rather generally believed that the foundation of personality comes from the maturation of heredity traits, but that these are influenced, partly through learning in connection with direct social contacts and partly, through conditioning. Considering the bulk of evidence available, it may be stated that there is a definite operation between heredity and environment. Although the importance of the two may be relative only, it cannot be said that their operation is exclusive. Hereditary factor may operate differentially but this differentiation is determined by the environment.

Viewing these factors in an objective manner, heredity and environment have a cumulative significance and they cannot be understood without proper qualification. Heredity and environment imply many influences, specific in their own way and yet interactive and interdependent in their operation. In the process of development of the individual, interaction occurs within as well as between the specific factors in each of the two categories.

The importance of both nature and nurture for the development of the child is shown by many studies. The students of nature-nurture problem have tried to understand this question by studying the origin of differences in mental abilities, on the average, between various socio-economic groups, occupational groups, national groups, etc. Further, this controversy has also been tackled by studying children of identical genetic constitution, or heredity including the children of identical multiple births and also on children whose genetic constitutions are known to be dissimilar.

Genetics and the Environment's Influence on Intelligence

In various studies, nature has been kept constant and in others nurture. Studies conducted in s have shown that generally both nature and nurture are significant even though the importance of each in terms of percentage is now indeterminate and may continue to be so. Further Blatz and mill champ studied the mental growth of the Dionne quintuplets. The controversy over nature-nurture will lose its colour once it is seen that mental development always takes place in some kinds of environment and is the result of integrated action of nature and nurture.

From the accounts of extremely deprived children, it is clear that mental development always requires cultural experiences within our society.

Estimates of genetic influence are called heritability. Examples of an extreme nature positions in psychology include Chomsky , who proposed language is gained through the use of an innate language acquisition device. Another example of nature is Freud's theory of aggression as being an innate drive called Thanatos. Characteristics and differences that are not observable at birth, but which emerge later in life, are regarded as the product of maturation. The classic example of the way this affects our physical development are the bodily changes that occur in early adolescence at puberty.

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However, nativists also argue that maturation governs the emergence of attachment in infancy , language acquisition and even cognitive development as a whole. From this point of view, psychological characteristics and behavioral differences that emerge through infancy and childhood are the results of learning. It is how you are brought up nurture that governs the psychologically significant aspects of child development and the concept of maturation applies only to the biological.

For example, Bandura's social learning theory states that aggression is learned from the environment through observation and imitation. This is seen in his famous Bobo doll experiment Bandura, Also, Skinner believed that language is learnt from other people via behavior shaping techniques. Freud stated that events in our childhood have a great influence on our adult lives, shaping our personality.

He thought that parenting is of primary importance to a child's development , and the family as the most importance feature of nurture was a common theme throughout twentieth century psychology which was dominated by environmentalists theories. In practice, hardly anyone today accepts either of the extreme positions. This question was first framed by Francis Galton in the late 19th century. This view has cropped up time and again in the history of psychology and has stimulated much of the research into intelligence testing.

A modern proponent is the American psychologist Arthur Jenson. Finding that the average I. It was more to do with the social and political implications that are often drawn from research that claims to demonstrate natural inequalities between social groups. Today in Britain many believe that the immigration policies are designed to discriminate against Black and Asian ethnic groups. For many environmentalists there is a barely disguised right-wing agenda behind the work of the behavioral geneticists.

In their view, part of the difference in the I.

INFLUENCE of HEREDITY and ENVIRONMENT on CHILD DEVELOPMENT

More fundamentally, they believe that differences in intellectual ability are a product of social inequalities in access to material resources and opportunities. To put it simply children brought up in the ghetto tend to score lower on tests because they are denied the same life chances as more privileged members of society. Now we can see why the nature-nurture debate has become such a hotly contested issue. What begins as an attempt to understand the causes of behavioral differences often develops into a politically motivated dispute about distributive justice and power in society.

It is equally relevant to the psychology of sex and gender, where the question of how much of the alleged differences in male and female behavior is due to biology and how much to culture is just as controversial. Researchers in the field of behavioral genetics study variation in behavior as it is affected by genes, which are the units of heredity passed down from parents to offspring. Behavioral genetics has enabled psychology to quantify the relative contribution of nature and nurture with regard to specific psychological traits.

Basic features of heredity

One way to do this is to study relatives who share the same genes nature but a different environment nurture. Adoption acts as a natural experiment which allows researchers to do this. Rather than the presence or absence of single genes being the determining factor that accounts for psychological traits, behavioral genetics has demonstrated that multiple genes — often thousands, collectively contribute to specific behaviours.

Thus, psychological traits follow a polygenic mode of inheritance as opposed to being determined by a single gene.

Depression is a good example of a polygenic trait, which is thought to be influenced by around genes Plomin,