John B. Watson : An American Behavioral Psychologist

1373 Words Jul 4th, 2016 6 Pages
John B. Watson, an American behavioral psychologist, famously wrote:
“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors” (1930, p. 104). It is an extreme point of view in the nature versus nurture debate, but one I agree with. Though genetics predispose individuals to certain qualities that make them “natural born leaders”, how the world nurtures those qualities determine if they become leaders or not. For decades there were no female leaders, not because women are inherently worse leaders, but because society did not support their existence. Everything about us is an intricate interaction between our genetics and our environment, yet we are all capable of learning certain skills given enough practice. Leadership, like any other life skill, can be taught. However, I would push the idea further and argue that even traits can be taught. One criticism Norhouse (2016) has of the trait approach is that you can’t train IQ or extraversion because they are “largely fixed psychological structures” (p. 32), but that is not necessarily true anymore. Recent studies have shown that even in middle adulthood, our brains are making new connections and our five-factor…

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