Q:

How does the concept of nature and nurture influence human behavior?

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Quick Answer

Although the debate continues regarding which has the greater effect on human behavior, it is generally accepted that the contributing factors of both nature (innate traits) and nurture (acquired traits) account for the wide variety of personalities, career paths and emotional characteristics among individuals in a society. The mid-20th century saw a shift away from the role played by genetics, or the "nature" factor, in personality development as researchers began to lean more towards the role played by an individual's interaction with their environment, or the "nurture" factor. By the latter part of the 20th century, the more influential focus was no longer centered around behavior developing independently of environment and viewed instead as an interactive process involving inherited traits, upbringing, peer experiences, random environmental events, media and socioeconomic status.

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Full Answer

Research appears to show that a trait such as an individual's IQ level, commonly assumed to be an inherited trait, can be subject to alteration by the influence of family environmental factors. Culture is also a factor in the development of behavioral traits because of its generation-to-generation transmission of accepted social norms and parameters.

The 20th-century developmental psychologist, Erik Erikson, proposed that individuals develop their personalities, learning abilities and social skills by progressing through a series of eight interactive stages beginning in early childhood and ending in the years between 50 and 70. At each stage, the developing individual encounters various types of environmental crises, and by successfully overcoming each specific crisis, moves on the next stage in the developmental sequence.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is meant by the nature versus nurture debate?

    A:

    The nature versus nurture debate seeks to determine to what extent inherited and learned aspects impact the behavior of a person. Different approaches in the field of psychology focus on one side, or both, to a varying degree. The biological approach and behaviorism occupy the two ends of the spectrum.

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  • Q:

    What are a list of human behaviors?

    A:

    Demology, or the study of human behavior, has isolated three key types: aggressive behavior, passive behavior and assertive behavior. Each individual's proclivity for any one of these behaviors depends largely upon their personal attitudes, that is, as to the acceptability or desirability of that behavior. These attitudes, in turn, are often closely related to their social or cultural context.

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  • Q:

    What are some basic sociological concepts?

    A:

    The basic concepts of sociology revolve around the patterns of human behavior that sociology looks to study: society and culture, ways in which individuals and groups interact and the factors which influence an individual's role in society. The paradigms of sociology, including functionalist, conflict, symbolic interactionist, exchange and ethno-methodology will shape the way these concepts are applied.

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  • Q:

    What is the meaning of the term social expectations?

    A:

    The term social expectations refers to the general standards of behavior that individuals who live within a society are expected to uphold. Good manners and common sense are standard examples of universal social expectations, although specific social behaviors differ from one culture to the next.

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