Just Sociology

Nature vs Nurture: Which Shapes Human Behaviour More?

Nature Explanations of Behaviour

The nature theory posits that human behaviours are innate and predetermined by biological factors. This theory accentuates that the instincts human beings have, are basic reflexes that pre-date higher cognitive functions like reason and logic.

According to the nature theory, certain animal behaviours are predictable, like the hunting behaviour of a predator or the behaviour of a bird before it migrates. However, in human beings, the theory stresses that these innate habits are the default state of human beings, and education and socialisation are what shape people away from these instincts.

In addition to instincts, genetic theories of behaviour argue that people are born with certain genetic predispositions that influence their behaviours. This is based on the idea that an individual’s DNA makeup can not only affect their physical attributes but their behavioural tendencies as well.

The genetic theory has been applied to criminal behaviour, suggesting that a particular criminal gene can be expressed in some people leading to deviant behaviour.

Nurture Explanations of Behaviour

On the contrary, nurture explanations suggest that an individual’s environment shapes and moulds their behaviour. Proponents of this theory argue that the environment is the primary influence on who an individual becomes.

It is the socialisation process that cultivates a person’s personality and behavioural tendencies. The concept of socialisation emphasises that humans acquire behaviours through interactions with their surroundings, including their family, peers, and community.

Institutions that Shape Behaviour

The family institution is recognised as one of the most influential factors in shaping an individual’s personality and behaviours. Within the family, individuals are taught good manners, social etiquette and other non-cognitive behavioural habits that influence how they interact with other people.

For instance, a person’s upbringing can determine whether they are aggressive or passive, introverted or extroverted, kind or unkind. The family also indirectly influences an individual’s development by facilitating participation in activities that encourage healthy behaviour and discourage bad behaviour.

Education is another institution that plays a significant role in shaping human behaviour. The education system helps individuals gain valuable skills to navigate through life effectively.

The education system incorporates the transmission of knowledge of social norms, shared values, and the development of problem-solving skills. For instance, an individual that has good manners, etiquette, and knows how to socialize is more likely to succeed in their career and personal life.


In summary, the nature versus nurture debate has been and will always be a topic of interest in the field of psychology. While there is no definitive answer, both sides assert that both biology and the environment play fundamental roles in shaping individuals’ behaviour.

The interplay between these two factors means that behaviours can be modified or altered in certain ways. Ultimately, understanding the complex relationship between nature and nurture is key to creating a more successful, harmonious, and just society.

Nurture Explains More than Nature

The argument that nurture plays a more significant role than nature in shaping human behaviour is supported by several factors, including differences in behaviours across cultures, historical comparative evidence, and evidence that challenges nature theories. One of the main arguments that support nurture is differences in human behaviour across societies and cultures.

Humans share a universal genetic code, but how they behave differs significantly depending on where they come from, and the society they grew up in. Anthropological comparative evidence shows that cultures shape people’s social, economic, and political behaviours.

For instance, cultures that value individualism will differ from cultures that emphasise collectivism in their behaviours. Similarly, historical comparative evidence supports the argument that nurture shapes human behaviour more than nature.

Historical accounts and sociological studies show that human behaviour has changed over time in response to environmental and social factors. For example, the shift from nomadic to agrarian societies led to new inventions, values, and behaviours that had not been observed previously.

Moreover, evidence that challenges nature theories suggests that nurture plays a more critical role in behaviour regulation. Scholars argue that behaviour is not merely instinct-driven, and that the environment has a significant impact on shaping one’s behaviour.

Studies have shown that social factors such as upbringing, early life experiences, exposure to violence, substance abuse, and poverty, all markedly influence one’s behavioural tendencies.

Analysis of a Podcast on Genetics vs Surroundings Explanations of Behaviour Change

In a podcast titled, “Nature vs Nurture: The Power of Genetics vs Environment in the Development of Criminal Behaviors,” experts in the field of criminology discuss whether nature or nurture have a more significant impact on shaping criminal behaviour. The podcast explores the role of family history, genetic patterns, and various factors that prevent criminal behaviour, and what the researcher’s view is on this topic.

Family history was identified as a factor that could shape both nature and nurture influences on behavioural development. It was contended that family histories impact psychiatric conditions and behavioural tendencies.

It was suggested that positive reinforcement could impact a criminal’s mindset an approach that could diminish negative behaviours while reinforcing positive behaviours. The podcast also noted that while genetic patterns undoubtedly play a role in shaping human behaviour and criminal tendencies, environmental factors also have significant impacts.

The researchers concurred that while genetic patterns partially explain criminal behaviors, this was by no means sufficient to indict an individual in criminal acts. Additionally, the podcast highlighted several factors that could prevent criminal behaviour, such as providing a better upbringing, stable and supportive environments, and access to education, and resources such as career opportunities.

The argument was made that preventative measures can have significant impacts on criminal behaviour, and that providing stable, supportive frameworks for at-risk populations could interrupt the cycle of criminal behaviour. Nature or Nurture:


The nature versus nurture debate has been central to discussions about human behaviour, and both sides have limitations in entirely explaining human behaviour.

While some say that behaviour is driven mostly by genetic factors, others make the case that it is shaped primarily by exposure to environmental factors, early life experiences, and the socialisation process. The problem, however, is that there is no compelling, empirical evidence that adequately supports either side’s argument.

What it appears is that genetics, personality, and environment all contribute to human behaviour, and that the interaction between these factors is complex and multifaceted. It is clear that both nature and nurture play a role in shaping human behaviour, and efforts should be made to prevent negative actions while encouraging positive ones.

Preventative measures such as education, mentoring, and counselling can help people overcome negative influences in their lives and foster healthy, responsible behaviours. Moreover, while nature versus nurture debate continues, it is important to understand the complexities of the human condition and address them in a responsible and ethical way.

In conclusion, the nature versus nurture debate remains unresolved. While some argue that biological factors play a more significant role in shaping human behaviours, others contend that environmental factors play an equally significant role.

Regardless, the interplay between nature and nurture is complex and can have a significant impact on an individual’s behaviours. It is important to foster healthy behaviours through positive reinforcement, mentoring, and education, while preventative measures and supportive frameworks must be put in place to help individuals overcome negative exposures.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

1. What is the nature versus nurture debate?

The nature versus nurture debate is the argument about whether innate biological factors or societal/environmental factors have a greater effect on human behaviour. 2.

What is the role of genetics in shaping behaviour? Genetics plays a role in shaping human behaviour, but it is not the only determinant.

Genetic patterns partially explain criminal behaviours, but other factors such as upbringing, early life experiences, and exposure to violence also have significant impacts. 3.

How does the environment shape human behaviour? The environment shapes human behaviour in several ways, including early life exposures, socialisation, exposure to violence, and poverty.

4. What are some preventative measures to help overcome negative exposures?

Preventative measures that can help individuals overcome negative exposures include education, mentoring, counselling, access to resources, and providing a stable and supportive environment. 5.

What is the significance of the nature versus nurture debate? Underlying the debate is the question of what makes us human and what shapes our behaviour.

Understanding the complexities of human behaviour is crucial for fostering healthy, responsible behaviours and interventions that can improve society’s common good.

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