What do these findings say about nature versus nurture? How do these studies indicate the close relationship between genetic makeup and upbringing? Write several paragraphs to explain your ideas.
Research on Adolescents
In the past decade, scientists have conducted a great deal of research on adolescent development. One study found that girls who go through early puberty tend to be at greater risk of developing emotional problems and tend to be less confident than peers who develop later, while boys who experience early puberty tend to be more confident and successful than peers who develop later. Have students debate these findings. Divide the class into two teams, each including boys and girls. Have one team argue in favor of these results and one against them. Suggest that students include what they have learned about nature versus nurture. Before beginning the debate, tell students that the conclusions of one study are not necessarily accurate. In social science fields, researchers continue to refine findings with new information and more sophisticated experimental techniques.
It has been reported that the use of the terms "nature" and "nurture" as a convenient catch-phrase for the roles of heredity and environment in human development can be traced back to 13th century France . Some scientists think that people behave as they do according to genetic predispositions or even "animal instincts." This is known as the "nature" theory of human behavior. Other scientists 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 behavior.
Despite scholars' consensus that genetic contributions are not to be ignored, these correlational data are often believed to be exaggerated. Identical twins are genetically predisposed to a great deal of similarities, and, through a process known as reactive correlation, people around them tend to treat them similarly, which may help lead the twins to be similar beyond what their genetic profiles may warrant. The correlation of .86 between the IQ scores of identical twins, for example, may be contaminated with this reactive correlation. Identical twins encounter environmental experiences that are extremely similar to each other's, as the environment tends to react similarly to those who are genetically similar. As a result, for instance, adults and peers may treat identical twins similarly, and teachers may also develop similar expectations about these twins in terms of their emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functions. This similarity in environmental influences and expectations, therefore, may cause heritability estimates and concordance rates to be exaggerated.