Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Behavioral Ecology

Nature vs Nurture is a classic Debate.  Which side are you on?

Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Behavioral Ecology

Edward O. Wilson, “The Morality of the Gene” (1975)

Jerome Barkow, “The Elastic Between Genes and Culture” (1989)

Rebecca Bliege Bird, Eric Alden Smith, and Douglas W. Bird, “The hunting handicap: costly signaling in human foraging strategies” (2001)

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  • Merrily Mccarthy  On April 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Sociobiology

    The article;
    The Morality Of The Gene by Edward O. Wilson. (b. 1929). From EO Wilson’s classic book: Sociobiology, The New Synthesis. It is an example of early sociobiology.

    So we have been passing technology along to improve the survivability of each successive generation. (Simultaneously negative aspects of a culture are passed along.)

    What are some of our social problems?

    EO Wilson’s social behavior controlled by genes. Human bodies, the vehicles genes used to reproduce themselves.

    Movie going is foraging. We go and forage through stacks or shelves in search of knowledge, visions, fantasies, etc. in our own mind that we wish to feed upon, or nourish our psychic hunger.

    His approach is reductionism. He believes all human behavior stems from genetic forces.

    Self-knowledge is constrained and shaped by the emotional control centers in the hypothalamus and limbic system of the brain. What made these two systems, rulers, and containers of our emotions? The sop centers of cultural content, where the shrinks crawl in and hide, poking about hoping to find correct answers to their shriveling violet natures. Because natural selection discloses answers and that confabulates ethical philosophers and his “emotional” regulator provides better answers than his educational input.

    Darwin puts forth organisms reproduce genes and the organism is merely a vehicle or a momentary vessel in time, a holder or carrier of the “code”.

    So in essence organisms are natures secret weapon. Since the genes are contained within organisms and they move about, gather and reconfigure virtually unseen, or without detection at least until after awhile or until a noticeable point of “punk-eke” occurs no one knows what is happening until it happens! That is or EO = natures secret weapon! Nature has a tool and the tool is the hypothalamus and the limbic system and its job is to covet, protect, and manufacture DNA and so we all contain “Gods” genetic life giving material. Perhaps that is why we fight to stay alive!

    What if we are not pushed forward by our ‘altruism” but pushed forward purely on the “DNA factors or gene factors” the fact that we exhibit human characteristic s has nothing to do with our survivability. If science predicts our own human self-destruction or that of the earth, perhaps that accounts for our accelerated rate of population growth and surge of educational Importance.

    Why does it seems so out of place or uncommon for theory to move and change? For instance the chart on page 414, when in 1950 the big white looping cell was set to the left on a large loop or cellular biology and to the right a small loop of population biology, and it changed in 1975 to form a closure and population biology began to grow and by 2000 both sides were balanced and a uniform shaped bone developed.

    Why should this not be considered a normal mode of development when you consider “the more we learn, the more we change and the more things make understandable connections.”

    Bodies give birth to more bodies and thoughts simply follow the course through the bodies – that is, thoughts give birth to more thoughts.

    What I learn from this is that all life is interconnected on some level and changes over time with “thinkers” moving about from discipline to discipline as with each turn of the wheel they evolve to a new realization or a better way of explaining human evolution. Our genes, our DNA, and our life experiences brought on by these factors switch us around, exploding us, on a molecular level, like kernels of popcorn in a pan of hot butter, with each pop or each POW a matter of “punk-eke”. Some scientist is sitting watching and counting the spikes and basing all his assumptions on the mixed small explosions of genetic pops, while other scientists go out and check out the plants the seeds come from, and drag apart the entire structure of the seed, put it under a microscope and get their epiphany from their grand “ah-ha” moment.

    Some say it is a synergistic effort whereby all must be taken into consideration, yet all we know “brain-wise” comes from earth, air, water, and fire. And all that has been here is still here. So what magical sprinkle from the cosmos puts forth complex mathematical formulas that drive the Human Genome Project and simultaneously drive satellites to Mars and make man desire to colonize space? The ant colonies of EO Wilson?

    When someone tells me “you” will burn in hell, or “I hope you die a horrible death and go to hell” I believe those persons who threaten me with these ludicrous religious nut job concepts of “hell” are not even in the same intellectual gene pool as myself. Not that I am smarter or have more knowledge of such impossible notions – but the idea of a fantasy place of “hell” makes no scientific sense at all. Unless you subject the idea to your hypothalamus and limbic system for a test of “emotion control.” Which is interesting to note that, that is exactly what “torture”, torment, or threatening is about. It ramps up your emotions to fight against conflict and competition. In the dark ages people that exhibited accelerated emotional conditions were considered “witches” and burned at stake. This would be genetic control and proof of a “preferred survivor” concept…at the outset, even thought the people of the dark ages were not in the known about genetics, nor altruism.
    In modern society we have things happening all over the place with our own breeding population. Take engineers, take politicians, take business owners, take athletes, take entertainers, take computer users, take annalists, and look at all the specialization occurring among our own populations. It is speciation and selection and punk eke all going on at sometime, somewhere right under our noses. We are part of it! Just because we are who we are, or where we are does not give a barren excuse of exclusion to our participation or the consequences of our responsibilities as part of the breeding global population. We are part of the human clade. We are in this thing together!

    Do our genes have a moral code in addition to just surviving? Maybe they do, far and beyond what humans are able to conceptualize as accepted by their idea of reality. After all, at this point in time – as a gene driven global population we are driving research back into our own genetic diversity, DNA, and mtDNA – we are studying the very substance of that material that creates our own energy and life force. So why would we do this?

    EO Wilson says, “Self-knowledge is constrained and shaped by the emotional control centers in the hypothalamus and limbic systems of the brain.” The word that bounces our at me is “control”. If you look at every society, tribe, group or clade you can pull out contained, control and dominance or competition. Those ideas seem to eke out their presence in every society throughout time, and place. Rules! They are forerunning genetic rules, however we are also a global society in trouble and genetic threads of degeneration are presenting themselves regardless of all efforts based on the fine arts of civilized progress. We see collapses in family structure (genetic based?), we see degenerative diseases (obesity, coronaries, arthritis, asthma) we see social destruction from alcoholism, drug abuse and over indulgent sex practices (genetic weaknesses), we see our over indulgence, conspicuous consumption, and other calamities of the brain – freeze syndrome. Part of our global populations is powering forward and part of our populations is dying out.

    When 9/11 hit there were 12 million people living in New York City and there were about 60 Million Norwegian rats. And the intelligent people of Hollywood created a film, Ratatouille, to glorify the intelligent surviving rat-kingdom. This could be considered a degenerate mockery of the Human Genome Project. Why would anyone except EO Wilson associate the two species? EO Wilson has – using the wonder of the ant kingdom.

  • Kathryne J  On April 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    To a point, this section of Anthropological theory is amusing. The editor of our class text said that every edition they contemplated taking this section out because of its opposition. It is, nonetheless, a contribution still to theory. Cultural anthropologists do make three main arguments against this sort of thinking: it ignores the effects of culture and learning, much of its research focused on insects rather than humans, and it centers on the idea that human behavior can be directly linked to genes.

    Edward O. Wilson is, no doubt, exactly who these attacks are made against as he is the early sociobiology foreman. His article The Morality of the Gene focuses on the phenotype and how it works together within a group of phenotypes to carry on the special genes they share. One very interesting example he made, though it pertained to ants rather than humans, was that of an ant working to support his colony in the hopes of passing along its relative’s genes rather than its own. This might work for insects because in some insect types, only a queen or certain individuals do all the reproducing since in some cases they are the only ones who are phenotypically able to. It does not work that way in humans, as 99% of individuals in society are capable of reproduction at some point or another. I’m not sure if I can argue for Wilson’s view, since I do not live my life so that my brother or other relative can reproduce. I’m not sure if humans are wired for that.

    Well… I have to cut this short, as I have other classes to go to.

  • Dan  On April 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I found these articles to be interesting. The math solutions were a little confusing at first but it makes sense to me hy they put them in the article about hunting. I was wondering how such factors could be determined, but also wondered if the Melanasian people knew that their ways of foraging for men were inefficient compared to the foraging of the women. If they did know that then wouldnt the whole thing about the foraging skills representing status and reproductive rights would seem contradicting. If the women have the more effective way of foraging then wouldnt that make the men inferior to the women….. and since the men do not use the foraging techniques of the women because they feel the work is that of children and women.

  • Inconditus alio  On April 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Isn’t nature and nurture a common thing around animals? I’ve been to Nevada a lot and the deer crossings put under overpasses/underpasses I’ve seen mountain lions hiding on the tops of these things. Is that nature or nurture? Our genes are perfect examples of this behavior. Genes having a behavior complex…let me say this we have millions of autonomous cells in our bodies if genes had their way we would all be cookie cuttings of humans not individualistic. Does one really control ones subconscious? Or is it just a reminder that murdering the weak is an animalist way to do things….or is it just the “death penalty” for commenting a crime…..I surely don’t know ….
    I am unsure if this will reach you in your crack-berries/ipods/iphones/whatever you people are calling your social network anymore…………

  • Selena Farnesi  On April 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Okay, I’m having a bad day – so I’m just going to be blunt – I hate this theory. I am tired of genes being the root of behavior etc etc etc. I am not having a bad day because my genes are having a bad day; I’m having a bad day because my jeans don’t fit!

    External stimulus that has nothing to do with biology and my emotional responses to those stimulus’s – be they objects you run into on a bicycle or other people’s actions – I think if I was going to chalk it up to something I’d say I’m having a bad day because of learned behavior. I was taught certain things were good and certain things were bad, and when bad things happen and you can’t deal with them, I was taught to be overwhelmed, frustrated, mad or sad. That’s the appropriate response, is it not?

    And lastly, why do we listen to this guy talk about humans and culture as if he is an authority? He spent the majority of his research dealing with ants and insects; it seems to me that the behavior of ants and humans are not at all connected – except by the foot, my foot, the foot that squashes the ant with little concern because she’s having a bad day.

  • Verdugo  On April 16, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    One of the things that I have picked up on in anthropology is how different people are from culture to culture. If genes were in as much control as some of the proponents of sociobiology say I don’t think that these differences would be so apparent.
    In The Morality of the Gene Wilson talks about explaining altruism in humans. Wilson describes a model where when there are two or more people who share the gene for altruism. The altruistic acts of these people make it so that they are more likely to reproduce. Thus humans over time all humans have altruistic genes. This model fits perfectly into how natural selection works but does not account for what people learn culturally. Taboo can just as easily push people into “wasteful” acts of altruism. So the question becomes is taboo the result of genes? With all of the diversity that we have with taboo the answer is clearly no. In short, like what was stated above, people are to different for genes to be controlling behavior.

  • Josh AKA "Marky Mark"  On April 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I choose nurture so that I can do this….

    Oh Selena, I’m sorry your having a bad day. My jeans aren’t fitting right either. Its kind of a wierd thing though… My gut is getting fatter, but my waste is getting smaller. This is all due to the fact that i am no longer able to run, which is one of the main sources of my exercise. I have a possible bone spur in my foot and a twisted up knee. I guess my waste is getting smaller because I am losing muscle in the abdominal and buttocks area. The fat accumulating on my belly is also aiding in the falling down of my pants as the overhang will not allow me to pull up my jeans properly.

    Out of shape people like the two of us were not meant to survive in this land of the fit, yet our fellow American neighbors take care of us as if we were one of them (though they laugh and snicker to each other about our imperfections as we clearly are not one of them).

  • Joy  On April 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    The nature-nurture debate is somewhat of a strawman argument. It is there only to show that indeed one phenomenon can be intrepreted through different and complementary perspectives. Of course the two interact in order to give rise to whatever we are talking about, intelligence, mental disorder, a person’s behaviors, and probably even cultural practices.
    Many would argue that all organisms present in the world are connected and that we can learn about humans by studying animals with simpler nervous systems or simpler group stratification, etc. We are all subject to similar constraints in that all organisms live in this world and have to deal with similar environmental pressures at some level (nurture), and all develop according to the DNA sequence present in their own cells (nature). Thus, there should be continuity among the animals, even up to man. I do not think we can understand man only through studying animals, but we can gain a great deal of knowledge about human beings.
    That being said, I find the idea of the ‘selfish gene’ somewhat distressing, because it seems to anthropomorphize the gene, bestowing a consciousness upon it, whether the theory means to or not. Furthermore, kinship selection does seem to be plausible at some level. I would be more willing to give a kidney to a family member or close friend, than to a stranger; and I would be more willing to give die for my nephews or my own (future) children than I would for a stranger’s children or even a friend’s. Thus, kinship selection does seem to have some anecdotal evidence, but I am not ready to assign motivation to my genes; my genes would not know the difference between my children or my friend’s children. However, the sum (or more than the sum) of all my genes together (me) are aware of my own biases.

  • theanthrogeek  On April 16, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Taboo??? What was that about?

  • brandi  On April 16, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    It’s not one versus the other but is instead both nature and nurture. Genetics plays a part in our behavior to an extent and so does our environment. If an entire family are criminals, it does not mean that all future generations will be as well simply because it was the environment they grew up in. At some point our higher reasoning kicks in and helps us to determine our actions. You can’t learn that something is bad or inappropriate without learning that there is an appropriate response too. While our environment does not fully dictate who we are neither does our genetics. Just because a person has an extra Y or X chromosome does not mean that they will automatically be more aggressive than others that do not. The problem with this theory is that too often people want to blame bad behavior one or the other instead of simply accepting responsibility for their own actions and thereby the consequences to those actions.

  • empFresno  On April 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I still don’t think that our genes are what dictates our behavior. I think its all about our environment. Everything from aggressive behavior, war, and sex.

  • Mark  On April 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Neither. To take on side is to be limiting the possibilities of the entire equation. And when you have unlimited possibilities for why an individual has turned out a particular way, why limit them to just one method of analysis? If anything, thats doing exactly what Wilson was attempting to do in his paper. Simplify the entire equation in a simple, singular set of answers. And as any good anthropologist should know–and yes, I am using loaded rhetoric–the answer is rarely simple and it rarely comes in easy to digest sets.
    I believe, firmly, that nature has a huge role. We are animals first and foremost. We breathe, eat, mate and take care of our base instincts and needs. But at the same time, we are complex animals at that. Our needs surpass the needs of our biological cousins. For example, I don’t see chimps practicing S&M or bondage for their sexual practices. That element of a persons sexual drive or personality is heavily dependent on the nurture they receive. And to reduce nurture just to the parents and immediate family is in my opinion a common fallacy people tend to apply to. The nurture aspect applies to every external element a person is exposed to the minute they are able to produce cognitive thought, be it subconscious or conscious. Parenting plays a roll, so does television ads, friends, and public schools. Rape and violent acts like that also are thrown into the “nurture” pot as external factors that influence growth of the individual. Extreme acts such as the one mentioned above drastically alter the way a person perceives and acts. This claim may be idle, since i’m not referencing any direct sources, but for those who have known victims and have done the research know quite well what I’m saying has validity.
    So all in all, nature and nurture run hand in hand. I don’t believe you can have one without the other and I don’t believe one has more influence than the other. For example, an individual can become homosexual due to a traumatic instance or be born that way. Or, someone who born with mental deviations and was raised the same way as someone who born “normal” would not grow in the same manner as the other person. Even if they were exposed to the same thing and lived the exact same life, because of the physical element, the result would be drastically different.

  • Felicia  On April 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    So are people born gay or are they raised gay? I think this a common nature vs. nurture debate. I would have to choose nature on this one. Does this mean that all gay people are going to live a homosexual lifestyle? Probably not depending on the environment he or she was raised in. A gay person would most likely live a heterosexual lifestyle for various reasons such as growing up in a religious family or community that frowns upon it or they were raised to think it was wrong. These reasons may be due to nurture. Even though I think being gay is not a choice, other people do, which is a nurture debate in itself. The nature vs. nurture debate as a whole I can’t pick one side because the different aspects of each of them hold truth.

  • Jessica Flippen  On April 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Harry Harlow, an American psychologist, is famous for his maternal-seperation and social isolation experiments with rhesus macaques. He removed two groups of rhesus macaques from their mothers. In the first group, the monkeys were fed from a babybottle attached to a wire doll. A terrycloth doll without a bottle was also in the cage. The second group of monkeys obtained food from the terrycloth doll, but not the wire doll. The young monkeys clung to the terrycloth doll whether or not it provided them with food. They approached the wire doll only when they were hungry. Baby macaques were also isolated from their peers. When introduced to a social environment, they exhibited autistic symptoms-self-clutching and rocking. Interaction with younger monkeys brought partial recovery. It is clear what impact the environment had on the macaques, and their development.

  • Jessica  On April 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Harry Harlow conducted maternal-seperation and social isolation experiments on rhesus macaques. Two groups of rhesus macaques were seperated from their mothers. One group obtained food from a baby bottle attached to a wire doll. A terrycloth doll was in the same cage. The other group was fed by the terrycloth doll, not the wire doll beside it. The young monkeys clung to the terrycloth doll whether or not it provided them with food. The monkeys only approached the wire doll when they were hungry. The monkeys were isolated from their peers in another experiment. When they were brought into a cage with other young monkeys, they exhibited autistic symptoms-clutching themselves and rocking back and forth. The environment had a clear impact on the monkeys and their development.

  • Heresiarch  On April 24, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Applying sociobiological thinking to human societies is a perilous task. But the sociobiology of the New World Order must be revealed!!

  • Madoka  On March 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    People are affected by both sides because I believe by experiencing both nature and nurture in our life, we are changing both our shape and behavior. For example, if we are determined by nature, the entire family will end up in jail, if one of the family members is a serial killer. I believe humans can control their behavior by an educational environment. If this situation with just nature is accepted, there is no limit of those who will go to jail. As nurture, it affects human traits. Animals, including humans, adapt their shapes according to each environmental circumstance by their genes as stated by Darwin’s theory. People’s traits are consisted of both nature and nurture.

  • Josie Weatherford  On April 8, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I think it is mostly nurture because the environment you grow up in does dictate, to a certain extent, your attitudes and behaviors. I watched a program on national geographic last night about the gangs in compton, los angeles, and basically it impressed upon me that these kids cannot see life outside of this violent neighborhood, they’ve never been outside of it so it limits their view of what they can do besides gang-banging. it’s the environment that they grew up in and they’re used to being shot and seeing sirens and going to funerals. workers who deal with them say them have elements of post-traumatic stress seen in soldiers coming back from Iraq. They live as if they are in a war zone. That person, having grown up in a “nice” suburban neighborhood somewhere else would probably go to school like you or me. But they didn’t. So i think genes might have an influence but since most people are very similar genetically, they are not different enough to act differently if they had been placed in the same circumstances.

  • Mansione  On April 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    We are all familiar with studies of identical twins separated at birth and reared in different socioeconomic situations. When reunited as adults, some of the siblings were in the same occupations, appreciated the same musical artists, and in one instance were even partial to a particular European toothpaste. Is that coincidence? It seems to be nature. You are not strictly your genetics though. Nurture does have affect.

  • Megan Scholl  On April 11, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I’m in the middle! Both nature and nurture shape a person to be who they are. Genes play a huge role in our growth as does the environment. I think it’s really unrealistic to be completely against one side or the other. We can see in gene studies, especially with twins, how nature plays an absolutely enormous role. I watched this one study about these identical twin brothers who grew up separate from each other and never met. They grew up in completely different environments. Later in life, when they met, the result? They’d both chosen the same profession of firefighting! If that’s not a severe case of nature, I’m not sure what is!

    However, we see that environment plays a huge role, too. Children raised in Africa live in an environment completely different from ours. Because of it, they grow up with different values, beliefs, health issues, and more. I’ve lived in the San Joaquin Valley my entire life. At about the age of 12 I was diagnosed with asthma and now at 23 it’s worse than ever. If I don’t take my nightly Singulair, I have horrible asthma attacks, sometimes even when I sleep. Asthma is a huge problem in this area of California because of the poor air quality. If I’d drown up in a different environment, chances are, I wouldn’t have this asthma! Or if I did it wouldn’t be as bad.

    Both nature and nurture influence how you grow up! You can’t fight your genes, and you can’t fight the environment around you. They work together to shape a good portion of who you are.

  • Adrianna Salinas  On April 13, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Nature vs. Nuture…that is a good question. I don’t know how many classes I have had that have asked this very question, and yet the answer is not any easier today than it was two years ago. I would like to say that they are dependent upon each other, but of course this is theory and Dr. Mullooly would say that is a cop-out. So, today I am going to go with nature.

    Lets look at a serial killer such as Jeffrey Dahmer. He grew up in a pretty typical household. His parents were married, his father had a good job, and he had a younger brother. Lets just assume that he and his brother had the same upbringing, meaning they were both cared for and nurtured in the same way. If nurturing was all it took to shape the way a person behaves, then why did Dahmer choose this path and not his brother? For this reason I believe that nature has a greater say in who we become and how we behave. How a person will act is mapped out in their genes. Even my brother, sister and I are very different from one another, and we were raised by the same parents in the same manner.

  • Nicole Giglio  On April 14, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I remember when I was introduced to this debate in Mullooly’s Intro to Cultural Anthropology class. I’m not a fan of the Nature vs Nuture label — why can’t it be Nature and Nuture? Working together, as an influential unit?

    Both sides give valuable arguments. With nature, we do have some preset characteristics. Our brains may be wired to have a certain personality type, or, as others have stated, talent in a particular field. The separated twin example is a superb one.

    But how you’re raised can also influence or even change this. I think we’re capable of overcoming some attributes received at birth, depending on the conditions of our upbringing. Cultural impact is something we’ve all studied deeply here at Fresno State and know that location and community have great effect. Different childhoods produce different people. Simple as that.

    I can’t really side with one or the other — sorry Jim! But I can see that they both play an important role and should be regarded equally.

  • Pirate Kim (Jill)  On April 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Here is my stance on the issue of nature versus nurture so far: Genes do not have anything to do with our behavior, and if this were the case since we are all similar biologically, would we not behave in much the same manner in most circumstances, and how boring would that be. Also, that would also apply to chimpanzees since they share about 97% of the same biology as Homo Sapiens. While we are similar biologicall, the way in which we are brought up culturally is quite different. Yes there are outside mechanisms (society) somewhat telling us what is appropriate and what is not correct in the setting of behavior, but I believe an individuals behavior mostly comes from how they are nurtured and brought up so to speak within their culture. These sets of standards, ideals, values, etc. are embedded within out psyche as we are growing up and genetics has absolutely nothing to do with this. It is what is intilled within us from the time of our birth that helps to create our individual behaviors as well as some outside influences I believe.

  • Patrick Stumpf  On April 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Although I do agree withKim, I find Edward Wilson’s arguements very enticing. I am inclined to agree with Wilson that organisms are nothing more than temporary homes for DNA. Therefore, much (but not all, as Kim points out) of our behavior could be explained by evolution. Wilson uses the example of altruism to show how seeminlgy abstract behaviors have still follow evolutionary trends. Having said this, however, viewing life in this context mandates that EVERY behavior must be due to evolution. I don’t quite believe that, but overall, I do lean on the side of nature.

  • Jason McClung  On April 15, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    I don’t know where I fall on this argument. I understand the traditional ideas on both sides of Nature vs. Nurture, but it honestly (as I think is intended by DOCTOR Mullooly) strikes me as a false dichotomy.

    It was argued earlier that one accepting biological influence on personality means one must also accept habitual biological influence. While understandable (since the mental organ is filtered through a biological one), claiming all activities are predicated on Meat Drives seems overkill. Sure, I want sex, but the sex I want is based on internalized external norms.

    Yet the Meat Drive is consistent through every culture I encounter. In fact, most cultures seem designed to cater DIRECTLY to biological needs.

    Catering to biological needs isn’t the same is being directly FROM mental biology, though. Several customs are derived from completely non-human sources (Zodiac, anyone?), though the desire to understand unknowns may be from biological origins.

    So, in short, I’m confused. Something not terribly uncommon, and apparently a good thing in this odd world of conflicting viewpoints.

    (Also, Materialism -> Expressed Sociobiology? Interesting topic!)

    – Jason

  • Audra  On April 16, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Nature vs. Nurture seems to be the theme of the semester. I know some people have commented that genetics has nothing to do with behavior, however I tend to disagree with that. I learned in a communication class that 50% of your personality is already intact at the time a birth. If that research is true genetics would play a major role in our behavior.

    However, environment does play a role in developing our behavior. As Josie discussed about the gangs. Gangs create fear within the area they live and the recruit members by creating that fear. I do not agree with the idea that gang members do not know about the “outside” world. They do know about it but there is to much at risk if they leave.

    I think what Jim was talking about last class made more sense then anything to me. That there is no Nature or Nurture, there is this third thing that researchers have yet to find a name for. Because it seems to me that it is not just nature or nurture that drives our behavior it seems to be more complicated than just that.

  • Charon193 (Christina Knapp)  On April 16, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I am going to honestly say that I don’t know where I stand in this debate. There are genetic reasons that Audra mentions that can influence behavior by the time you are born, but it can also be how you are raised. It could even be something that is like a combination of the two. And, Mullooly, before you say that I’m copping out like Marky Mark, let me give a possible example of what I mean. According to my Aunt Lisa, when I was a baby, I never wanted to be around others, something that has not changed in the last 21 years. As soon as I was near another baby, she said, I would immediately start to cry. To her, it was a sure sign that I had some form of autism. As Jason has figured out, my autistic tendencies makes it hard for me to relate to others socially, though it has the benefit of enhancing how well I do in school and academics. When I first learned of my autism in high school, however, it made me wonder if it was the reason for my academic standing and not all of the studying that I did. My college experiences have proven to me that it is not the case. I would be doing better in Roger’s class if it was only my autistic nature that was the reason for it. This is a personal example, so it may not count for anything, but I think it explains why I do not really have a position in the Nature versus Nuture debate.

  • SierraH  On February 17, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Alright, so like other people, I don’t completely take one side of the nature/nurture debate. If my life depended on choosing a side though, I’d go with nurture. It makes more sense to me. And I haven’t done much research on which side has more supporting facts, but I think that nurturing has more obvious evidence. Almost everyday, in one of my classes, there is a discussion about how much culture shapes us. It makes us into everything we are causing to do countless things that we don’t give a second thought, but an outsider would definitely question. A good argument against this though is homosexuality (but I guess that is also a debate within itself). Personally I think homosexuality is something embedded within you, not something you learn and decide. My thoughts on homosexuality support the nature side, but my thoughts on culture shaping us support nurture. I don’t think I’ll ever agree with either side completely.

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