The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

The Nature vs. Nurture Debate
Innate behaviour is best described as the behaviour that we are born with. It remains unchanged and is often instinctive. It is a usually an involuntary response to a stimulus e.g. blinking your eye when it is blown on. These responses are the body?s natural and automatic reaction and are formed to help protect the body from harm. It can also be described as instinctive as in the Moro Reflex demonstrated by very young babies. This reflex is sometimes also known as the startle reflex and occurs, as is suggested by its name, when the baby has been startled or frightened. The baby will firstly stretch out its arms and then very quickly bring them together as a form of protection although it must be remembered that not all babies will display this behaviour every time they have been startled.
The other type of behaviour is described as learned behaviour. Empiricists believe that children are not born with these behaviours and that they must learn them through their experiences within their surrounding environment. Children are not born with these behaviours and they are unfixed and can be changed.

There are many problems connected with calling behaviour either innate or learned as there are very few clear cut examples for either. For example, some behaviour that appears obviously innate can sometimes be proven to be learned. During an investigation, Cohen found that a behaviour, such as sucking, which seems very obviously to be innate, may actually be learned. He found that babies who were crying and were restless for a feed actually became quicker at finding their mothers nipple with practice thus concluding that sucking is actually a learned behaviour.

In conclusion, all studies based on simple ?nature/nurture? debates, should no longer be used. Behaviour is influenced by both genes and the environment.

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