The key difference between nature and nurture is that nature depends on genetics whereas nurture depends on the time spent in the acquisition of skills.
Nature and nurture are two terms used in behavioural psychology. Nature refers to these characteristics that are innate. A person is born with specific skills and characteristics. Nature highlights this aspect. Nurture, on the other hand, highlights that the concept of innate, the hereditary characteristics is false. According to this belief, human behaviour is not innate but has to be practised. In behaviourism, one of the main assumptions is this conflict between nature and nurture when it comes to human behaviour.
What is Nature?
In behavioural psychology, the concept of nature is applicable to certain genetic and hereditary characteristics that are passed on from one generation to another. Nature determines the features and characteristics you have inherited from some of your ancestors. For example, if your grandfather and great grandfather were artists, the likelihood of you developing into a fine artist is more. This is because of the fact that you simply inherit the properties or characteristics of your forefathers and ancestors in matters relating to arts.
However, psychologists believe that learned characteristics are more significant than the inherited characteristics and that human behaviour can be changed through learning. J. Watson once said ‘Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my special world to bring them up in and I will guarantee to take any one at random and train him to be any specialist I might select- a doctor, a lawyer, artist’. This highlights the belief that the behaviourists had on nurture in opposition to the role of nature. Now let us focus on nurture.
What is Nurture?
The concept of nurture does not involve the element of hereditary traits. It depends entirely on the elements of practice, reference, and care. A writer for that matter would be in a position to create a masterpiece after undergoing a lot of training in the art of writing, referring to books and practising the art of composing. He would become a writer even if his forefathers were not writers. This is the basic difference between the concepts of nature and nurture.
John Locke once said that when we are born our mind is a ‘tabula rasa’ or else a blank slate. It is through learning that we acquire certain skills, behaviourism, and practices. When speaking of nurture, the contribution made to behaviourist psychology by psychologists cannot be ignored. Classical conditioning of Pavlov and Operant conditioning of B. F Skinner are important to prove the impact that nurture has on training and changing behavior. Through his experiment, Pavlov pointed out that involuntary emotional and physiological responses can be conditioned through learning. Also, Skinner pointed out that behaviour can be changed through reinforcement and punishment. These theories emphasize that behaviour is not always inherent, but it can also be learned.
What is the Difference Between Nature and Nurture?
The key difference between nature and nurture is that nature depends on inherited skills whereas nurture depends on the improved skills. Moreover, nature depends on genetics whereas nurture depends on the time spent in the acquisition of skills. Nurture has nothing to do with heredity and lineage whereas nature has everything to do with heredity and lineage. In the same way, nature has nothing to do with time spent whereas the concept of nurture has everything to do with the time spend.
Summary – Nature vs Nurture
Nurture has nothing to do with heredity and lineage whereas nature has everything to do with heredity and lineage. In the same way, nature has nothing to do with time spent whereas the concept of nurture has everything to do with the time spend. This is the key difference between nature and nurture.
1. “Mother’s Love” by Mark Colomb [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “France in XXI Century. School” by Jean Marc Cote (if 1901) or Villemard (if 1910)[Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons