The nature nurture debate in relation to individual development

Length: 1900 words

The nature-nurture debate has been going on for centuries. Many people have debated to why we develop as we are. Some argue that development is based of factors which we go through in life. Others argue development is based on what we inherit. ‘Extreme views support the notion that either nature or nurture is the primary influence on development.

However, just as development has a holistic nature in which development in one area depends on and exerts an influence over development in one area depends on an exerts an influence over development in another development can be better explained in terms of an interrelationship between genetic(nature)and environment (nurture) factors. This interrelationship is not necessarily equally balanced. For example the development of the physical structures needed to crawl is dependant more on biological programming than, for example the space within the physical environment in which an infant can move.

Some theorists believe that people behave as they do according to genetic this is the nature theory oh human behaviour whilst other theorists believe that people think and behave in certain ways because they are taught to do so. This is known as the “nurture” theory of human behaviour. Genetic factors Some argue that our

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genetics make up who we are. It has been argued that out genetic make up ‘predisposes’ individuals to certain behaviours, disorders and diseases all theses are explained by nurture.

There are a range of disorders to which individuals are predisposed to due to their genetic makeup containing one or more of a large quantity of genes. When these genes act together they can affect an individual’s development in many ways. This includes depression, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, MS, schizophrenia as well as common congenital malformations such as hip dislocation and spinal bifida. However there are several disorders which are caused by the attachment of multiple genes which are also affected by environmental factors such as smoking.

Genes have a function to start the construction that is crucial for normal body functioning such as enzymes. Packed together genes are in specific sequences in which form chromosomes, each human body has 23 pairs of chromosomes. One of each pair is inherited from the father and the other from the mother. Chromosomes abnormalities and gene mutations result in protein defects which then cause a range of genetic diseases such as downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis and phenylketonuria.

Phenylketonuria (PKU)

Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder that is characterized by an inability of the body being able to put amino acids which is essential to use.

Amino acids can only be obtained from the food we eat as our body does not normally produce them. ‘Phenylketonuria in which a defect in the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase prevents the body from converting phenylalanine’ this is found in the majority of body tissues and severely affects the development of the brain causing learning difficulties. This genetic disorder can be treated by the diet an individual has but the diet has to be free from high-protein foods such as meat, eggs milk and cheese as well as food which contains artificial phenylalanine free protein.

Downs syndrome

People with Down’s syndrome have an extra chromosome in either some or all of their body’s cells, this then results in certain physical characteristics such as large ears, low sloped eyes that slant upwards small mouth, flattening at the back of the head and a flattened nose bridge and poor muscle tone. Downs syndrome affects the development of a person resulting them to have poor health and learning difficulties. There is no cure for Down’s syndrome but there is treatment available. Treatment for Downs’s syndrome includes speech therapy, educational programmes, and physiotherapy.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening inherited disease. Protein is responsible for the transportation of salts and water across cell membranes. Cystic Fibrosis causes the body to produce thick secretions that particularly affect the lungs, intestines, pancreas and digestive tract. As the mucus is thick it causes coughs, chest infections, poor weight gain and abnormal stools. This affects an individual’s development as they have to maintain good health. Within the early stages of development gene therapy is introduced. Biological factors

Theorists argue that the development is influenced by lifestyle experiences, social-economic, environmental and biological factors. ‘From conception to birth, the developing child is exposed to the internal environment of its mother. Two factors within this environment that exert a significant influence on the child’s biological development are alcohol and infectious agents. The critical period of development begins in the first few weeks of life as this is when an embryo is most susceptible to alcohol. Within the early stages of pregnancy if a mother consumes too much alcohol there is a risk of the baby developing foetal alcohol syndrome. Read also this new information to determine the parents’ genotypes

This is characterised by physical and intellectual developmental delay including a range of physiological disorders, especially the nervous system and abnormalities of the skull and face. Bacteria and viruses are infectious agents causing infectious diseases this then passes from the mother to her un born child, infectious diseases such as HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, rubella, toxoplasmosis and listeriosis affects the development within the uterus. STD’s such as genital herpes and weeping ulcers which are found on the cervix, vagina and vulva puts the baby at risk of infection if delivered through the birth canal. This can lead to blindness.

Environmental factors

The development of a child can be affected due to the amount of pollution in the environment. Pollution from traffic fumes may affect lung development as well as other body systems. For example air pollutants may result in respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia or respiratory diseases such as, lung cancer, heart disease, and damage to brain nerves, liver, or kidneys. According to Val Michie noise pollution such as loud background noise from aeroplanes, washing machines and television has been linked with delayed intellectual development.

Individuals have many opportunities to develop as there are many facilities to promote this such as recreational and leisure facilities, these are important for growth and development throughout our lives. Eleanor Langridge suggests intellectual skills such as learning and understanding, creativity, decision making and problem solving. Emotional and social skills, such as confidence, self esteem, interaction, communication team work, sharing awareness of their personal, social and community responsible as individuals, group members and citizens. Physical skills such as mobility, fitness and co-ordination.

Being able to access health and social care services is necessary when it comes to monitoring growth and development throughout the different life stages. If there is little or no access to such services the growth and development of an individual may not be identified and addressed this then results in social and health inequalities and disadvantage. Factors such as employment, increases an individuals development. Being dependant receiving your own incomes is very important for growth and development as individuals will develop many skills and increasing their knowledge and learning.

Employment provides a great opportunity for individuals to develop such as reasonability, time keeping, social relation ships and teamwork. Development can be challenged in many ways: Socially-being able to maintain relationships working with other individuals as a team co-operating. Emotionally-there may be a boost in self confidence and self esteem, or a change in role this enables growth and responsibility Intellectually- individuals develop through understanding and learning, using a different range of skills.

Employment comes with many responsibilities and promotes intellectual development via learning. For example individuals are taught how to manage their money responsibly. Individuals are able to purchase and consume nutritious foods this promotes physical development. Employment also proves socio-emotional development though an individual’s social life and financial dependence as it enables then to the ability to purchase good in which promotes self-confidence and self-esteem.

Socio-economic factors Gender

The state of being male or female has a marked influence on development. Biological differences impact on physical development, for example, the female hormone oestrogen helps to protect against heart disease and osteoporosis. Cultural and social norms and expectations, role models and so on influence the intellectual and social emotional development of boys and girls and the roles they play as adults at work and in the home. ‘ It is expected that the men go out to work whilst women stay at home and nurture the children, clean cook and take care of daily tasks.

This is an un-balanced development as the women are unable to learn and develop many skills which they may encounter. Social class The social class your in can have many consequences on an individuals development as it can either be positive or negative. The amount of can influence the amount of investment a child or young person may receive in their education as higher income families tend to have access to better schools. The level of education received by the parents influences a child or young person development as educated parents encourage their children to go to college and further education. A low social economic status. i. e. unemployment, poverty, and inadequate education and cold damp, over-crowded, insecure, filthy living conditions flies in the face of human growth and development. Family, friends and peer groups The socialisation process involves teachers, family, peer groups and media personalities. Role models such as these can influence and encourage an individual’s development as they unfold norms, values, beliefs and cultural ways of living. Role models such as family express love, care and attention encouraging positive development.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors are environmental factors which can have an influence on an individual growth, Factors such as these include, diet, substance abuse, stress and exercise. The type and amount of food we consume and levels of fitness activity can greatly affect physical growth however some people have no choice to resulting to food that may hinder development for example those in lower classes usually spend money on foods which are rich in salts, sugars and fats because they are cheaper then than healthier option.

This affects there development as they are more at risk to health problems such as diabetes and obesity. ‘The Acheson of 10998 called this trend ”food poverty”. ‘ Evolutionary psychology has been challenged cornering the adaptive ness in the EEA. A purely genetic perspective cannot explain the large quantity of evidence showing how experience alters the path of development. As there is little evidence to support these claims, critics claim that the evolutionary approach simply generates after the fact explanations. The nature nurture debate has important practical and political implications as discussed in the section development of measured intelligence. Gottesman’s concept of a reaction range could be the best solution to the nature nurture question. According to Gottesman, genes do not determine behaviour but they establish a range of possible responses that a person will show to different kinds of life experiences. What this means is that the genotype sets the boundaries on the type oh phenotype that will develop.

With respect to intellectual performance, Shaffer (1996) provides an example of the affects of varying degrees of environmental enrichment on three children. One who has high genetic potential for intellectual development, one whose genetic endowment for intelligence is average and one who’s potential for intellectual growth is far below average. The fist child has the widest reaction range, varying from well below average in a deprived environment to far above average in an enriched one. ‘

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