What is the difference between Nature and Nurture?

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wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a convenient way to discuss the two dominant influences on human psychology:  the inborn, genetic traits (strength, height, hair color, etc.) and the acquired behavioral traits from early experiences (caution, risk-taking, adventure).  The question is which influence is strongest? And how can Nurture alter Nature?  Does a person’s behavior reflect his/her genetic beginnings (love of sports, loyalty to race) or does the behavior reflect “lessons learned” as one grows up (fear of heights, love of adventure).  The underlying assumption of psychologists is that a person’s choices are not automatically free, but influenced by earlier decisions, experiences, etc.  Nature may give a person a predilection for choosing one behavior over another, but Nurture guides those predilections by providing pleasure/pain reactions that direct our next decision.

sid-sarfraz | Student

Basically nature and nurture are two theories of Developmental Psychology, which is the study of human growth and development and the effect of environment in the upbringing of a child. 


This theory studies the hereditary or genetic things that a child inherits from his parents. Basically when a child is born he inherits many things from his parents which is a natural aspect in human growth. Traits like eye color, mother language, religion, height, blood type etc are naturally inherited from the parents and can not be changed. Therefore the nature theory studies the natural inheritance of various things in the child from their parents through genes that cannot be changed as the children are born with them. 


The nurture theory is the study of individuals growth and development habits that they acquire from the environment they get as they grow up and the changes due to them. Factors like education, parents care, culture, friends, etc have a great effect on the child's upbringing. Therefore the nurture theory studies the various aspects that bring changes in the child due to the environment they get in which they are brought up.