Posted by & filed under Child Development, Genetics: The Biological Context of Development, Human Development, Intelligence, Neuroscience.

Description: How have you turned out the way you have so far? You are unique, but the age-old question of how much of who you are is in your genes and how much is in how you were, or are being, raised is not a simple one. Yes, it IS both but the idea that genes and environment add different components to the process like the ingredients in a meal or a drink, which is how most people think about Nature/Nurture is not right. So, what does your developmental, socio-historically linked account of how Nature and Nurture are related look like? Once you have that in mind dive in and read a review of a book by a researcher who has looked at and worked on tie question for his entire career.

Source: Beyond Nature vs. Nurture, What Makes Us Ourselves? Robin Martanz Henig, Book Review, The New York Times.

Date: November 1, 2020

Photo Credit: Photo by Yan from Pexels

Article Link:

So, did your description of nurture look like this “…“experience,” which encompasses a broad range of factors, beginning in the womb and carrying through every memory, every meal, every scent, every romantic encounter, every illness from before birth to the moment of death” ? (David Lindon, from the linked article). Nurture is comprised of ALL of your experiences in the world, post-conception (so, yes, pre-natally). Nurture (experience) in all its complexity builds upon and extends through Nature and accounts for where we are right now and from where our experiences from here onwards will take us in other directions. As complicated and indeterminate as that sounds it is also very important to also notice that there ARE definitive things that researchers working with Nature and Nurture can say definitively: “There is no evidence for significant average differences in intelligence-related genes between ‘races.’ Not between self-identified whites and Blacks in the United States [or anywhere else], nor between any pair of self-defined racial groups. Not only that, there is no evidence for racial group differences in genes that have been linked to any behavioral or cognitive trait. Not aggression. Not A.D.H.D. Not extroversion. Not depression. Nada, niente, nichts, bupkis…” (David Lindon, from the linked article).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How do you define and think about the relationship between Nature and Nurture?
  2. What gets added to your definition when you take a developmental perspective and think about Nurture as “experience”?
  3. Given the areas of historical nastiness when Nature/Nurture debates focused upon race and opportunity what sorts of things might the sophisticated account of these matters provided in the linked article do for us?

References (Read Further):

Linden, David (2020) Unique: The New Science of Individuality, Basic Book, New York, NY.

Morgan, I. G., & Rose, K. A. (2019). Myopia: is the nature‐nurture debate finally over?. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 102(1), 3-17. Link

Witherington, D. C., & Lickliter, R. (2017). Transcending the nature-nurture debate through epigenetics: Are we there yet? Human Development. Link

Ward, P., Belling, P., Petushek, E., & Ehrlinger, J. (2017). Does Talent Exist?: A re-evaluation of the nature–nurture debate. In Routledge handbook of talent identification and development in sport (pp. 19-34). Routledge. Link

Royle, N. J., & Moore, A. J. (2019). Nature and Nurture in Parental Care. Genes and Behaviour, 131-156. Link

Barlow, F. K. (2019). Nature vs. nurture is nonsense: On the necessity of an integrated genetic, social, developmental, and personality psychology. Australian journal of psychology, 71(1), 68-79. Link

Weissman, M. M. (2020). Is Depression Nature or Nurture? Yes. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 177(5). Link