Nature versus nurture

relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature" in the sense of nativism or innatism) as compared to an individual's personal experiences ("nurture" in the sense of empiricism or behaviorism)
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The nature versus nurture debate is about the causes of differences between people. The phrase 'nature versus nurture' was suggested by the Victorian polymath Francis Galton. He was influenced by Darwin's On the Origin of Species.[1] He investigated the influence of heredity and environment on social advancement.

Galton did not oppose nature to nurture as two alternatives.[1] The phrase 'nature vs nurture' has been criticized for its over-simplification. Almost all writers have realised that both play a part in our make-up. Both nature and nurture play interacting roles in development, and many modern psychologists and anthropologists think the contrast is too simple.[2][3][4][5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Galton, Francis 1875. Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, volume 7. Of Men of Science, their nature and their nurture. [1] Also, later, Galton, Francis 1895. English men of science: their nature and nurture. Macmillan, London and Appleton, New York.
  2. Dusheck, Jennie 2002. The interpretation of genes. Natural History, October 2002.
  3. Carlson N.R. et al. 2005. Psychology: the science of behaviour. 3rd ed, Pearson. ISBN 0-205-45769-X
  4. Ridley, Matt 2003. Nature via Nurture: genes, experience, & what makes us human. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-200663-4
  5. Westen D. 2002. Psychology: brain, behavior & culture. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-38754-1