The nature vs. nurture debate within psychology is concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behavior are a product of either inherited (i.e., genetic) or acquired (i.e., learned) characteristics.

Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception, e.g., the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual.

Nature is characterized by individual’s heredity characteristics which includes the combination of genes which ultimately shape up the physical features and somehow exhibit some kind of pre-formed or inborn or innate features.

Nurture is characterized by the interaction between the environment and the person himself.It shapes the personality of an individual builds up his thought or cognitions and somehow influence individual’s behaviour as well as perception.

Psychology Facts

healthy child nature or nurture


Nature Vs Nurture Debate in Psychology

Your physical features can be identified as identical to that of your parents, like your eyes from your father, and the hair color from your mother. However, your personality and talents may have come not from your father or mother. Somehow the individual develops his/her own characteristics may be the physical or psychological.The environment where you grew up may have a lasting effect or influence on that way you talk, behave and respond to the things around you.

One of the oldest arguments in the history of psychology is the Nature vs Nurture debate. The arguments have raised up so many questions in mind whether a person’s development is predisposed in his DNA, or a majority of it is influenced by this life experiences and his environment.We can somehow conclude that both nature and nurture play important roles in human development, but we have not known yet whether we are developed majorly because of nature or due to nurture.

Dominance of Nature on individual:

The coding of genes in each cell in us humans determine the different traits that we have, more dominantly on the physical attributes like eye color, hair color, ear size, height, and other traits. Somehow the dominance of Nature is prominent in the physical characteristics of an individual.However, it is still not known whether the more abstract attributes like personality, intelligence, sexual orientation, likes and dislikes are gene-coded in our DNA, too.

One of the hottest issues against nature theory is that there may be an existing “gay gene”, which explains that gays are actually born that way. Another issue is that the criminal acts, tendency to divorce and aggressive behavior causing abuse can be justified by the “behavioral genes” once the researchers have proven their existence.

Dominance of Nurture on individual:

The Nurture theory holds that genetic influence over abstract traits may exist; however, the environmental factors are the real origins of our behavior. The influence of environmental factors includes the use of conditioning in order to induce a new behavior to a child, or alter an unlikely behavior being shown by the child. According to John Watson, one of the strongest psychologists who propose environmental learning as a dominating side in the nature vs nurture debate, commented that he can train a baby randomly chosen in a group of 12 infants, to become any type of specialist Watson wants. He stated that he could train him to be such regardless of the child’s potentialities, talents and race.

Although the fraternal twins raised apart have remarkable similarities in most respects, still the intervention of the environment have caused several differences in the way they behave.

nature Nurture


Most scientists who carefully examine the ever-expanding research base have come to appreciate that the nature and nurture domains are hopelessly interwoven with one another. Genes have an influence on the environments we experience. At the same time, a person’s environment and experience can directly change the level at which certain genes are expressed (a rapidly evolving area of research called epigenetics), which in turn alters both the physical structure and activity of the brain.

Nature can only assist in the growth of a fetus into a normal well-developed adult who may have inherited some special talents. Thus it can be concluded that nature uses the genetic coding to help in physical development and does impart some positive or negative traits to an individual. However, it is nurture which can be utilized to improve positive traits and diminish the effect of negative traits in a child.

It is indeed important to recognize that nature in the form of inherited traits does exist but a person’s overall behavior is influenced a great deal by nurture or upbringing and the environmental factors involved in this upbringing. Several recent studies carried out on infant and child behavior have shown that there is significant evidence to support the fact that nurture strongly influences human development especially in the early years.

The part which nurture plays in human development has been demonstrated by psychologists in experiments in which stepping practice was administered to a cohort of inference for just a few minutes many times in a day. It was later that these children were able to walk several days earlier than infants who had not been given stepping practice (Zalazo, Zelazo & Kolb, 1972.)

In conclusion, it is evident that nature is responsible for producing healthy, well-developed babies. It is also nurture that plays an important role in the early stages of human development. Research has concluded beyond doubt that early human development is quicker and more focused due to nurture as it builds up on the talents provided by nature.


Research on Wheels is a section which focuses on the case studies , further clarify your concept and somehow convey about thof Hetre practicality of the  concerned topic .

Many psychologists have done experiments or research work on the Impact of Nature or Nurture.Here arises some questions which are  quite debatable ones regarding the concept of Nature Vs Nurture.

Is that the personality of an individual is shaped by nature or nurture?

Is that the level of intelligence can be judged by nature or nurture factor?

Is an alcoholic is born or made ?

Are criminals born or made?

Is that the biased or rigid thoughts are influenced by nature or nurture?

Here are Some questions which really need to be answered:

Is that the level of intelligence can be judged by nature or nurture factor? Genius

The role of genes and environment (nature and nurture) in determining IQ is reviewed in Plomin et al. (2001, 2003). Until recently heritability, a measure of how much variability in a trait is due to genes, was mostly studied in children. Various studies find the heritability of IQ between 0.4 and 0.8 in the United States, which is, depending on the study, a little less than half to substantially more than half of the variation in IQ among the children studied was due to variation in their genes
Environmental factors also play a role in determining IQ. Proper childhood nutrition appears critical for cognitive development (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.; malnutrition can lower IQ. Other research indicates environmental factors such as prenatal exposure to toxins, duration of breastfeeding, and micronutrient deficiency can affect IQ. It is well known that it is possible to increase one’s IQ score by training, for example by regularly playing puzzle games or strategy games, like chess.

Are criminals born or made?


Brunner, Nelen, Breakefield, Ropers, and van Oost (1993) conducted a study utilizing a large Dutch family. In their study they found a point mutation in the structural gene for monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), a neurochemical in the brain, which they associated with aggressive criminal behavior among a number of males in that family (Alper, 1995). These males were reported to have selective MAOA deficiency, which can lead to decreased concentrations of 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid (5-HIAA) in cerebrospinal fluid. Evidence sug gests that low concentrations of 5-HIAA can be associated with impulsive aggression. However in another study it was found that Families with poor communication and weak family bonds have been shown to have a correlation with children’s development of aggressive/criminal behavior (Garnefski & Okma, 1996). Therefore it seems obvious to conclude that those families who are less financially sound, perhaps have more children, and who are unable to consistently punish their children will have a greater likelihood of promoting an environment that will influence antisocial or delinquent behavior.

Is that the personality of an individual is shaped by nature or nurture?


Personality is not determined by any single gene, but rather by the actions of many genes working together. There is no “IQ gene” that determines intelligence and there is no “good marriage partner gene” that makes a person a particularly good marriage bet. Furthermore, even working together, genes are not so powerful that they can control or create our personality. Some genes tend to increase a given characteristic and others work to decrease that same characteristic—the complex relationship among the various genes, as well as a variety of random factors, produces the final outcome. Furthermore, genetic factors always work with environmental factors to create personality. Having a given pattern of genes doesn’t necessarily mean that a particular trait will develop, because some traits might occur only in some environments. For example, a person may have a genetic variant that is known to increase his or her risk for developing emphysema from smoking. But if that person never smokes, then emphysema most likely will not develop.

Some Tips:

  • The nature factor in an individual can be dominant but it is upto us how we are going to mould that attitude into a positive one.
  • The Nurture is responsible for shaping the personality somehow, the way we think, behave.So its very important that we should get influenced by the negativity and a person should not create a sphere of negativity.
  • The dominance of nature will not be effected if you broaden up your own thinking into positive one.
  • Enhance your inner skills and come out of your habits which you think is dominated by your Nature factor.
  • Your behaviour can be moulded into an effective one if you are not influenced by the negative nurture factor.