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The nature/nurture debate
1. Chomsky believes that children are born with an inherited ability to learn any human language.
Evaluate the factors that can influence language development
2. Evaluate how social learning theory may explain the aggressive behaviour of children
3. Sarah, who is 14 years old goes to the local comprehensive school. She has learning difficulties. Sarah gets support in her lessons.
Her support might be reduced in the future because the school’s budget has been reduced.
Discuss the impact of nature and nurture on Sarah’s academic potential.
Certain physical characteristics are biologically determined by genetic inheritance e.g. eye colour, hair texture and skin pigmentation, height, weight, life expectancy and vulnerability to specific diseases.
Biological perspectives of development used in The Nature side of the debate:
Bowlby’s theory of attachment as it explains the bond between mother and child as being an innate process.
Chomsky’s model of language acquisition as it explains the ability to develop a signed or spoken language is genetically programmed into individuals.
Bowlby defined attachment as a 'lasting psychological connectedness between human beings. ... Bowlby (1958) proposed that attachment can be understood within an evolutionary context in that the caregiver provides safety and security for the infant. Attachment is adaptive as it enhances the infant's chance of survival.
Noam Chomsky is a credible linguist and expert in language development. ... He suggests that children are born with an innate ability to learn language. The Key Principles of Chomsky's Model of Language Acquisition: Everyone is born with the capacity to develop and learn any language.
Gesell's Maturation Theory focused on the physical and mental development of children. He suggested that children will go through the same stages of development, in the same sequence but each child will go through the stages at their own rate.
Behavioural perspectives of development that are used in the Nurture side of the debate:
Bandura’s social learning theory - as it explains learning occurring through observing the behaviour of others (modelling); how we behave is the result of associations formed by reinforcement (both positive, and negative)
An Introduction to Albert Bandura’s social learning theory (Aggression)
Aggression is a learned behavior, and we become aggressive through observing and imitating others such as influences from friends and family.
While these theories are useful guidance they do not provide the answers as to whether development throughout the lifespan is down to nature or nurture. It is probably more useful to assume that hereditary and environmental factors (nature and nurture) interact to influence the type of person an individual becomes and the type of behaviour they display.