What Does it Mean to be a Human: Constantly Changing Definition
There has been an ongoing debate within psychology circles as to what makes greater impact on a person’s behavior – one’s genetics and inheritance or upbringing and surrounding. There are numerous proponents on both sides.
It is a conventional wisdom for everybody that certain physical characteristics are predetermined before we are born as they come from genetics: color of the eyes, hair, body structure, color of skin etc. Each person has its own unique genetic code. This fact has led many scientists to think that a set pf psychological characteristics are predetermined too. For example, mental abilities, behavioral patterns, speed of speech etc. This is a so-called…show more content… It suggests that at birth a human’s mind is tabula rasa (a blank slate). Through experience and environment this slate fills in with behavioral patterns and attitudes (McLeod). The way a person is brought up governs the way he or she learns and matures in the future and shapes its behavioral differences from other people.
Between biological and behavioral approaches to understanding a person there are many other approaches that are not that radical in their explanations as to why one people behave differently from others. Freud’s theory, for example, is that all people are governed by innate drive of sex and aggression (nature). However, the way they externalize it depends on social upbringing and environment (nurture). As opposed to Freud’s approach, social learning theory says that aggression is learnt from the environment through observation and imitation and is not inherited (Davies).
Another debate was provoked by American psychologist Arthur Jensen that argued that 80% of intellectual abilities of a person come from his or her genes. He made this assumption after conducting an experiment were he evaluate IQ of African race against Caucasians and identified that the former had significantly lower IQ points. For many environmentalists, however, such drastic differences in IQ testing are due to socially biased methods of testing (McLeod). Moreover, it only proves that society is very important in enhancing or decreasing intellectual abilities as the majority