Is Mental Health Determined by Nature or Nurture

1 January 2017

Is Our Mental Health Determined By Nature or Nurture Nature vs. nurture is an age old argument, hereditary or environment. The argument basically debates if genetic makeup or environment predetermines certain things about the human development. In my paper I am going to discuss the argument of nature as well as the argument of nurture and how it affects the mental health of a child.

I am also going discuss the argument that both nature and nurture determines our mental health. I am going to first discuss the argument for nature. Many believe our fates predetermined.The psychology dictionary describes the nature theory as “humans being born with certain traits and the will be manifested regardless of environment. ” While discussing the nature theory, I will go into views of famous scientist psychologist such as Arnold Gesell, Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess, and Thomas Bouchard as well as the views of famous thinkers such as Plato and Socrates. I will first discuss the studies of Thomas Bouchard. Thomas Bouchard is for the argument of nature.

Is Mental Health Determined by Nature or Nurture Essay Example

Bouchard often studied adoptions and twins, by doing this Bouchard he says our outcome is determined by genes.In a from the Smithsonian titled “The Jim Twins” it describes a study how a set of twins were separated at 3 weeks of age by adoption and then was reunited at the age of 39. In the article it states that growing up, both of the boys were names Jim by their adoptive parents, one named Jim Lewis and one named Jim Springer. Both of the boys had an interest in math and carpentry and children. As they grew up, one was a security guard and the other was a sheriff. They both married women name Linda, and then divorced and then they both remarried women named Betty.It goes so far as when they both had baby boys, one named the child James Alan Lewis, and the other one named the child James Allan Lewis.

The article then goes on to say that Bouchard flew the twins to Minnesota very soon after the meeting because he wanted to do some testing before the twins had too much time together, Bouchard looked at that as the evidence being contaminated. Bouchard noticed many similarities in these twins who had no contact with each other for thirty nine years. The twins stated they both felt a sense if emptiness. Bouchard stated that the differences these twins did have come from being raised in different places.Dr. Bouchard states in one of the personality test, the twins test were so similar that it was compared to a person taking the same test twice. This goes to support Dr.

Bouchard’s view of nature. I am next going to write about Arnold Gesell. Arnold Gesell also argues the point of nature. Gesell is a responsible for the “Growth and Development Theory”. Gesell studied children form the preschool until the age of sixteen. Gesell focused his studies on children at natural play without disturbing them. He studied things such as motor skills, expression, interpersonal relations, play, ethical sense and pastimes.

Gesell believes or fates or predetermined so he believes parents should raise children with reasonable guidance, not to strictly and not too freely. Children should be allowed to make mistakes to grow from them. In the 1940’s and the 1950’s Gesell was looked at as an authority in the rearing and development of children, but his work was criticized because his study group was small and bias, It consist of a small group of middle class white children. I am next going to write about Alexander Thomas and his wife Stella Chess. Thomas and Chess started the New York Longitudinal Study of Child Temperament, along with Herbert Birch.This study is classic study which studies personalities and temperament traits in young children. This is still an ongoing study.

The reason they started this study is because in their own practice, they were seeing good parents with extra temperamental children, as well as children who have terrible parents but are resourceful enough to come out of that situation as successful adults. In this study they also noted how children who are raised in the same household in the same environment with the same parents can come out totally different, they can have different temperaments.Chess and Thomas thought that each child has different capabilities, and we cannot compare one child to another. They thought pushing a child pass its capabilities, or setting the expectations to high would be stressors and would cause the child to act out. In this study Chess and Thomas comes to the conclusion that temperament is biological which puts them for nature in the nature vs. nurture argument. Plato and Socrates were both great thinkers, Plato was Socrates’ student, they were both for the argument of nature.

Socrates teachings were not popular in their time.Socrates thought that intelligence was a gift from the god and could not be learned in a learning institution or from the environment. In fact Socrates was tried and sentenced to death because of him questioning the gods. To add to the argument of nature, there is a Gene called the monoamine oxidase gene, also known as the MAOA gene. This gene is located adjacent a gene that is on the opposite chromosome X. If there is a mutation of this gene, it results in a monoamine oxidase deficiency; which may cause certain mental issues.A recent study mentioned in EYE on DNA stated that women with this gene variation were more likely to become alcoholics after child abuse or a sexual assault.

This is just adding to the nature part of the argument. I will now get into the nurture part of the argument. Nurture is considered environment or non-genetic factors. Jawaharlal Nehru states, “Life is a game of cards. The hand that is dealt represents determinism; the way you play it is free will. ” I will be discussing the beliefs and studies of scientist and thinkers such as Ivan Pavlov, B. F.

Skinner, William Greeno, John Broadus Watson and Stanley Turecki.I will first discuss Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov was known for his Classical Conditioning theory. Classical is defined as “a reflective or automatic type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus. Pavlov salivating dog is the experiment he is most known for. In this experiment, Pavlov Noticed how the dogs would produce extra saliva when the food servers would come with the meat powder, then Pavlov would ring a bell along with the food servers, soon, the dogs would salivate with this the sound of the bell because they would associate bell with being time to be fed.The bell was a neutral response until it was associated with the food.

This was a learned behavior, or achieved by nurture. I am now going to discuss Skinner‘s view of operant conditioning. Skinner is known as the father of operant conditioning. He is also known for coming up with the Law of Effect-Reinforcement. Skinner believes with proper reinforcement, any outcome is possible. It is a sort of cause and effect theory that our behavior is shaped by reinforces or punishers. Reinforcers increases the possibility of the behavior being repeated and punishers decreases the likelihood of the behavior being repeated.

It’s like the example of a child being touches a hot stove, although we repeatedly told the child not to touch it because it was hot, the child still wants to touch the stove, but if the child touches the stove and burns its fingers, the child will learn not to touch the hot stove because it was burned. That is an example of punishers, a learned behavior because of a negative result. An example of positive reinforcement is, if one is trying to potty train a child, when the child uses the potty they are rewarded. The child then looks forward to this ward and thus this helps motivates the child to use the potty. This is positive reinforcement helps promote a learned behavior. Classical and operant conditionings are both examples of the nurture argument, learned behavior. Stanley Turecki is another psychiatrist who is for the nurture theory.

Turecki works with children, adolescents, adults and families. His beliefs are that every child is different and should be nurtured accordingly, he believes that more children may required more guidance and attention than another child in the same household.Turecki does believe in administering medication to children but he is a little more conservative with it. If he must prescribe medication, he gives it at a lower dosage than most of his counter parts; he believes medication should be a last resort. Turecki believes that a lot of mental issues come from personal conflicts and not from chemical imbalances, and personal conflicts cannot be cured or corrected with medication. As mentioned, Turecki says that all children are different and to be an “expert parent” the parent needs to understand the child and accept the child from who they are and not the child you wish you had.He states that each child will meet milestones at their own schedule and we should not compare one child to another, this can be damaging to the child’s progress.

Stanley Turecki is another psychiatrist who is for the nurture theory. Turecki works with children, adolescents, adults and families. His beliefs are that every child is different and should be nurtured accordingly, he believes that more children may required more guidance and attention than another child in the same household. Turecki does believe in administering medication to children but he is a little more conservative with it.If he must prescribe medication, he gives it at a lower dosage than most of his counter parts; he believes medication should be a last resort. Turecki believes that a lot of mental issues come from personal conflicts and not from chemical imbalances, and personal conflicts cannot be cured or corrected with medication. As mentioned, Turecki says that all children are different and to be an “expert parent” the parent needs to understand the child and accept the child from who they are and not the child you wish you had.

He states that each child will meet milestones at their own schedule and we should not compare one child to another, this can be damaging to the child’s progress. John Broadus Watson is considered the father of behaviorism, he is a component of nurture and differences are a result of learned behavior. Watson is against mentalist concepts and used contiguity to explain learning. Watson believed that emotion was another form of classical conditioning. He did not believe people had individual differences. He felt that behavior comes from identifiable events.

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