What does it mean by nature and nurture? Explain.human development and learning

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cburr's profile pic

cburr | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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"Nature" means the influence of an individual's genetic make-up on their development and learning.  "Nurture" means the impact of the individual's family, education and upbringing.  

There have been many studies of the impact of these two factors.  The most interesting of these involve twins separated at birth.  Here is the introduction to an NPR story about one such pair: 

What is it that makes us who we really are: our life experiences or our DNA? Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein were both born in New York City. Both women were adopted as infants and raised by loving families. They met for the first time when they were 35 years old and found they were "identical strangers."

Unknowingly, Bernstein and Schein had been part of a secret research project in the 1960s and '70s that separated identical twins as infants and followed their development in a one-of-a-kind experiment to assess the influence of nature vs. nurture in child development.

Now, the twins, authors of a new memoir called Identical Strangers, are trying to uncover the truth about the study.


User Comments

Yojana_Thapa's profile pic

Yojana_Thapa | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Nature vs. Nurture is a debate. Nature (heredity, genes) vs. Nurture (environment) It is debate whether we are influenced by genes or the our surroundings.

panda2014's profile pic

panda2014 | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

Nature refers to the human traits one gets biologically through their parents and cannot be altered or changed in any way. Nurture refers to the human traits one gets from the environment that they grew up in. The nature versus nurture debate is actually scientifically disproven, because both nature and nurture both affect a human's traits.

frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

this 'nature and nuture' argument is very very old and used to be very very important. Is John born John or does he becomeJohn from his life experiences? In the past it was a very important question and historically, before the discovery of DNA and psychology, many strange arguments were used to prove that one group of people was born naturally superior over another group.

It was a very important subject, Royalty and Aristocracy used the argument of 'nature' to claim their birthright to rule and to oppress people of 'low' birth and to continue this for generation after generation. The idea of poor people 'bettering themselves' was not encouraged until the last 150 years.

Men believed they were born naturally superior to women and that women couldn't/shouldn't be educated (nutured) as highly.

During slavery, white slave owners generally believed that they were born naturally superior to black slaves and that educating (nuturing) blacks wouldn't work and that using them as slaves was OK.

There was a crazy false science called phrenology that involved measure people's head and thereby proving intelligence and character. Of course, white male 'scientists' decided that white male head's were the shape of the highest qualities.

Their are still many people today who believe that your birth defines who you are and your life choices can't change it. But they are wrong.