Nature and Nurture? Explanations and examples? for my psychology class

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"Nature" refers to behaviors that people do out of instinct.  Behaviors that are based on nature may lie within one's genes.  "Nurture," on the other hand, are behaviors that are guided by social practices.  Behaviors that are based on nurture have been taught to individuals by others in their social circles.  The "nature vs. nurture" argument is prevalent in issues dealing with discrimination.  A classic example is the study and documentary titled Eye of the Storm in which third-grade teacher Jane Elliot subjected her students to a powerful lesson on racism and learned behavior.  With the permission of the students' parents, Elliot told the children that all the brown-eyed people were inferior and proceeded to treat them in such a way.  Soon, the blue-eyed children began acting like they were in fact superior.  Then Elliot told the class that she had made a mistake and that the blue-eyed children were in fact the inferior ones.  Soon, the brown-eyed children assumed the superior stance.  In the end, Elliot told her students that she made it all up and guided them in a discussion about discrimination.  Her goal was to show that prejudice is a learned behavior guided by "nurture" and not an instinctive behavior guided by "nature."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial