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Is It Nature or Nurture?

There has been much said and written and said about how important the socialization is to our eventual human adult natures. Historically, there has also been much research into the biological influence of who we eventually become. Think about this question, “how much of our socialization is influenced by our genetics and biology and how much is influenced by the social environment we are born into and in which we are raised?” Heritability is the proportion of our personality, self, and biological traits which stem from our genetic or socialization environmental factors. Nature versus Nurture is the debate over the influence of biological versus social influences in socialization.

In the history of social science the Blank Slate Theory was widely accepted. Tabula Rasa is Latin for Blank Slate. It was a theoretical claim that humans are born with no mental or intellectual capacities and all that they learn is written upon them by those who provide their primary and secondary socialization (this claim was for 100% nurture in how we become human). Most social scientist reject any notion of 100 percent nurture, simply because the research does not support the theory. Socialization alone does not explain adult outcomes.

But, is our socialization 100 percent biology? Not really. In the biological sciences, geneticists have regal position on the nature argument. Their studies of heritability have yielded overriding conclusion that biological factors alone do not explain socialization outcomes. Biological and socialization factors are both influential, yet neither are deterministic. In 2004, Steven Pinker argued that the brain is the core issue in understanding how biology and social environment interact in the process of how we become human. He argues that current scientific knowledge has articulated much of the biological factor and some of the sociological factor, but fail to consider the brain’s influence in how a child becomes an adult wherever she grows up in this world. He states in his conclusion:

“The human brain has been called the most complex object in the known universe.
No doubt hypotheses that pit nature against nurture as a dichotomy or that correlate genes or environment with behavior without looking at the intervening brain will turn out to be simplistic or wrong. But that complexity does not mean we should fuzz up the issues by saying that it’s all just too complicated to think about, or that some hypotheses should be treated a priori as
obviously true, obviously false, or too dangerous to mention. As with inflation, cancer, and global warming, we have no choice but to try to disentangle the multiple causes (“Why Nature and Nurture Won’t Go Away” in Dædalus, Fall 2004, pages 1-13).”

Musical talents, genius intelligence levels, athletic abilities, various forms of intelligence, homosexuality, heterosexuality, conformity, and other traits have been correlated with biological and environmental factors. Most scientists can conclude at this time that the biological factors are only correlated to, not causally deterministic to any adult outcomes. From the sociological perspective, the focus is heavily on environmental factors which account for conflict, functional, symbolic interactionism, and social exchange theoretical underpinnings of nature versus nurture studies. In other words, it’s very important to consider socialization (nurture) because biologists have yet to find any causal factors in our human natures that can be applied to raising children into adults in a society that will manifest desired traits.



“DJBirth” is a photo of his first few seconds of life. In this picture he has not yet taken his first breath. His bluish color is there because he still getting oxygen through the umbilical cord. In “DJwithDad” this is me as a new father, lying beside him. Not only is his primary socialization in full swing, his father is experiencing rather dramatic adult socialization in terms of becoming a good Father. In “DJwithsis” he is shown on the first day of first grade with his little sister (kindergartner).

Secondary socialization was on when this picture was taken. Both have graduated high school and are in college now. In “DJearnsbike” he is shown with a bike he earned over three months at 25 cents per chore. He earned half and we paid the other half. He not only learned to work but he learned to be a consumer and he learned how crime can occur to him. This bike was stolen twice and destroyed on the second theft (he earned another one). In “DJGoldminingwithDad” he is shown in Fairbanks Alaska at a tourist gold mining camp. When our children turn 12 years old we take them on a trip somewhere in the country. DJ and I panned about ½ an ounce of gold together and made awesome memories. In “DJwatchesUncleflirt” we were visiting the Alaska pipeline when DJ’s uncle started flirting with a college student who was working in Alaska to save money for college. DJ observed and later imitated his Uncle’s flirting skills. In “DJsnowboarding” and “DJ4wheeler” we see him in his adult roles where he is self-taught in snowboarding and in 4-wheeling in the Utah sand dunes. He holds a solid job, attends college, and has a hectic social life (like most of you). His adult socialization has been varied and ongoing.

As was mentioned, part of the socialization is the development of self-concept in each of us. It begins at birth and continues dramatic development through the school years, with slight modifications throughout the adult years. Your Self is at the core of your personality, representing your conscious experience of having a separate and unique identity. YourSelf-Concept is the sum total of your perceptions and beliefs about yourself. It is crucial to note that your self-concept is based heavily on your social construction of reality—that means others influence your perception of your self-worth and definition.


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 1257


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