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• Nature-Nurture Controversy
o The relative contributions of nature (genetic and biological inheritance) and
nurture (environmental factors) in developmental processes has been and
continues to be debated.
o Psychologists investigate, by using both longitudinal and cross-sectional studies
of subjects in each developmental period, how both nature and nurture influence
behavior. When put together, the study data provide information about changes
over the entire life span.
o Mathematical estimate based on many observations in a certain groups that can be
attributed to differences in nature of genetic makeup
o Distinction: Genetically determined does not equal genetically fixed Genetically determined refers to the notion that certain inborn biological
factors combine with environmental factors to influence a person’s
• Biosocial Theory
o a theory in behavioral and social science that suggests the attribution of disorders
of personality and conditions of mind to the reaction of biologically determined
personality traits to environmental stimuli
• Identical twins are often studied in nature-nurture investigations (because identical twins
develop from one egg, but fraternal twins develop from separate eggs and are genetically
no more similar than are any brothers or sisters).
o Studies have shown that identical twins are more similar in personalities, abilities,
and interests than are other siblings. Even those identical twins separated at birth and reared apart, a fact that
supports the contention that nature (heredity) may be more
developmentally important than nurture.
• Bottom Line: People are social (ie. Nurture) and biological (ie. Nature) organisms. These
two aspects do not operate independently and interact often. ...
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This document was uploaded on 10/26/2011 for the course PSYCH 2400 at UVA.
- Fall '11
- Personality Psychology