In a short paper on nature vs nurture, what is a good way to react to the excerpt below?
Clearly, there is a need to address the biological challenge. We need to empiri
cally demonstrate the validity of our
social-psychological theories, to show
that our sociocultural variables do completely
m.ediate (account for) the effects
of biological sex on social behavior.
The research reported here was intended
to provide such a demonstration.
The research involved the test of a
social-psychological model of the relationships
between biological sex differences,
intervening sociocultural states,
and the emergent status order in mixedsex
small groups. The results of the research
indicate only partial support for the
model; the intervening sociocultural variables
accounted for some but not all of the
relationship between biological sex differences
and status ranking. Within the
limits of the research, these results underscore
the empirical vulnerability of social
psychological explanations of sex-role behavior
and should signal the need for
further research on the issue.
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If you are going to respond to research on the topic of nature versus nurture, it is probably better to respond to an excerpt in which the research is described in more detail. The reason for this is that such an excerpt will give you something to critique. There is nothing really in this excerpt that can be critiqued.
The excerpt that you have provided is essentially saying that the author’s research finds that sex-based differences in behavior cannot be completely explained by “sociocultural variables.” In other words, “nurture” does not explain all of the differences that we see in the behaviors of men and women. Instead, the author concludes, there is room to believe that biological influences help to cause these differences in behavior.
The problem with responding to this excerpt is that there is nothing really to discuss. You can either accept the author’s conclusion or reject it. What you probably need to react to is the actual design of the research. In other words, see what experiment the researcher did and critique it. Say why you think it was a good experiment or a bad experiment.
To take an extreme example, imagine that the experiment consisted solely of seeing whether women or men expressed more sympathy when shown pictures of people suffering. Imagine that the researcher claimed that this showed that women were more naturally sympathetic than men. You could argue with this because you could say that there is nothing in the experiment that differentiated between the biological impacts of being male or female and the social impacts. If you have the whole experiment to discuss, you can critique it. If all you have is the conclusion, you cannot critique it. Therefore, it would be much better for you to use an excerpt that shows the actual experiment that was done.
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