The Nature-Nurture Question – PSYC 100_ Principles of Psychology F21.pdf

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12/1/21, 12:21 PMThe Nature-Nurture Question – PSYC 100: Principles of Psychology F211/208. The Nature-NurtureQuestionOriginal chapter by Eric Turkheimer adapted by theQueen’s University Psychology DepartmentThis Open Access chapter was originally written for the NOBA project.Information on the NOBA project can be found below.We encourage students to use the “Three-Step Method” for support in theirlearning. Please ±nd our version of the Three-Step Method, created in collabo-ration with Queen’s Student Academic Success Services, at the following link:People have a deep intuition about what has been called the “nature–nurture
12/1/21, 12:21 PMThe Nature-Nurture Question – PSYC 100: Principles of Psychology F212/20question.” Some aspects of our behavior feel as though they originate in ourgenetic makeup, while others feel like the result of our upbringing or our ownhard work. The scienti±c ±eld of behavior genetics attempts to study these dif-ferences empirically, either by examining similarities among family memberswith different degrees of genetic relatedness, or, more recently, by studyingdifferences in the DNA of people with different behavioral traits. The scienti±cmethods that have been developed are ingenious, but often inconclusive.Many of the dif±culties encountered in the empirical science of behavior ge-netics turn out to be conceptual, and our intuitions about nature and nurtureget more complicated the harder we think about them. In the end, it is anoversimpli±cation to ask how “genetic” some particular behavior is. Genes andenvironments always combine to produce behavior, and the real science is inthe discovery of how they combine for a given behavior.Learning ObjectivesUnderstand what the nature–nurture debate is and why the problem fas-cinates us.Understand why nature–nurture questions are dif±cult to studyempirically.Know the major research designs that can be used to study nature–nur-ture questions.Appreciate the complexities of nature–nurture and why questions thatseem simple turn out not to have simple answers.IntroductionThere are three related problems at the intersection of philosophy and sciencethat are fundamental to our understanding of our relationship to the naturalworld: the mind–body problem, the free will problem, and the nature–nurtureproblem. These great questions have a lot in common. Everyone, even thosewithout much knowledge of science or philosophy, has opinions about the an-swers to these questions that come simply from observing the world we live
12/1/21, 12:21 PMThe Nature-Nurture Question – PSYC 100: Principles of Psychology F213/20in. Our feelings about our relationship with the physical and biological worldoften seem incomplete. We are in control of our actions in some ways, but atthe mercy of our bodies in others; it feels obvious that our consciousness issome kind of creation of our physical brains, at the same time we sense thatour awareness must go beyond just the physical. This incomplete knowledgeof our relationship with nature leaves us fascinated and a little obsessed, like acat that climbs into a paper bag and then out again, over and over, mysti±ed

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Term
Winter
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Psychology, Genetics, DNA, Principles of Psychology, Twin, The Declaration of Independence, Evolutionary Theories in Psychology

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