Nature and Nurture:All Interactions,All the Time
A. Nature and Nurture Begin Interacting Before Birth
• Ahost of environmental factors, including teratogens, influence prenatal
o Their effects depend in part on maternal and fetal genetic
o Even qualities that are present at birth, such as taste preferences and
maternal voice recognition, may be affected
B. Infants’Nature Elicits Nurture
• Nature equips babies with a host of qualities that elicit appropriate nurture
C. Timing Matters
• The effects of a given kind of nurture depend on the nature of the organism at
the time of the experience
• For example, infants born with strabismus (i.e., cross-eyed)
• Such sensitive periods influence perception, language, intelligence, emotions,
and social behavior.
D. Nature Does Not Reveal Itself All at Once
• Many genetically influenced properties do not become evident until middle
childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.
• For example, schizophrenia is highly influenced by genes inherited at
• As with other aspects of development, the emergence of schizophrenia reflects
a complex interplay between
E. Everything Influences Everything
• Children’s nature – their genes, personal characteristics, and behavioral
tendencies – interact with the nurture they receive from parents, teachers,
peers, and broader society
Children PlayActive Roles in Their Own Development
• Physically interacting with
• Interpreting their
• Regulating their
• Eliciting reactions
A. Self-Initiated Activity
• From before birth through adolescence, children’s self initiated activities
• Movement affects
• Looking preferences guide
• Self-locomotion expands the child’s
• Language affects
• Peer relationships influence B. Active Interpretation of Experience
• Children also contribute to their development by trying to understand
• Infants develop a sense of
• Toddlers ask
• Young children construct informal theories about inanimate objects, living
things, and people.
• At all ages, children who successfully regulate their emotions tend to be more
socially competent than those who are less skilled at emotional regulation.
• Over the course of development, there is also a considerable increase in the
range of areas in which children regulate their own activities, rather than
having others regulate them.
D. Eliciting Reactions from Other People
• From the first days of life, children act differently from one another and evoke
different reactions from other people on the basis of their
• The effects that children’s initial inclinations have on others’behavior toward
Mechanisms of Developmental Change
A. Biological Change Mechanisms
• Underlie both very specific changes (such as the development of specialized
areas of the brain) and very general changes (including the processes through
which neurons are produced, reach their destination, become differentiated,
and form synapses)
B. Behavioral Change Mechanisms
• Describe responses to environmental contingencies
• Basic behavioral learning mechanisms – habituation, classical conditioning,
instrumental conditioning, and statistical learning –
Children (as well as adults) also learn a great deal from observing and interacting with
Among the crucial contributors to social learning are imitation, social referencing,
language, and guided participation.
Social learning influences socio-emotional development as well as the acquisition of
The likelihood of imitating other people is affected
C. Cognitive Change Mechanisms
Many of the most compelling analyses of developmental change are at the cognitive
General Information-Processing Mechanisms Domain-specific learning mechanisms
Assumptions about the physical world
Assumptions about word learning
Informal theories about the main types of entities in the world – inanimate objects,
people, and other living things
D. Change Mechanisms Work Together
It is crucial to remember that biological, cognitive and behavioral mechanisms reflect
The Sociocultural Context Shapes Development
Growing Up in Societies with Different Values
Sociocultural differences exert an influence on cognitive development.
They help determine which skills and knowledge children acquire and
Cultural values also influence the educational system,
Growing Up in Different Circumstances Within a Society
• Even among children growing up at the same time in the same society,
differences in economic circumstances, family relationships, and peer groups
lead to large differences in children’s lives.
• All aspects of development are influenced by economic circumstances.
• Poor children experience difficulty in establishing secure attachments,
developing good peer relationships, avoiding antisocial behavior, and
• The cumulative effect of the disadvantages associated with poverty, rather than
any one of them, poses the greatest obstacle to successful development.
How Do Children Become So Different from OneAnother?
• Three properties determine the importance of a dimension of individual
• Children’s status on the most important dimensions is related to their status at
that time on other important dimensions.
• Adimension of individual differences is of greater interest if its measurement
is stable over time.
• Achild’s status on a dimension predicts outcomes on other important
dimensions in the future.
A. Breadth of Individual Differences at a Given Time
• Individual differences on different dimensions
• Children who are high on one dimension also tend to be high
• Certain dimensions of psychological functioning, including intelligence,