The old debate, Nature vs Nurture is known to almost everybody. Do we act the way we do because we were raised this way, or because our genes tell us to? That is the question that has been bugging people for ages, since the time of Socrates and Aristotle we have been arguing about it. Both sides have equal merit and there is research to back up both sides. It is the application of such things that makes one wonder about the way things really are.
My sister has a two and a half year old daughter who is starting to vocalize and be very independent. Observing her has made me wonder if the things she does are learned from watching the people around her, which would prove nurture, or whether she just inherently knows to do those things as in nature. Sort of like instincts in animals, are the actions we perform really something we are born knowing? The problem is figuring out how we learn, is it simply reinforcing our instinctual knowledge, or is it learning from scratch. From watching her develop and grow, I am very much convinced that she is learning these things from us. I have seen her watching my sister as she interacts with people and then, at a later time, do similar things while she plays with the other kids in her Sunday school group. Being a role model to a two year old may seem like an easy job, but when every move you make is scrutinized by a child, you might think twice. To me this is very good evidence of nurture over nature, but in the end who can tell? Just because someone is raised a certain way, doesn’t guarantee that they will act that way. I’m sure most families that produce serial killers don’t intentionally raise them to be go out and kill people. The scientist might argue that there isn’t a gene that controls that kind of behavior either. We are left with our own experiences to make sense of the world around us.