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Canada (158,391)
Psychology (900)
PSYC 250 (18)
Chapter 4


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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 250
Tanya Broesch

Chapter 4: Nature, Nurture and development January-26-13 9:55 PM Paper: • Due on March 19th • 5 pages Nurture • Refers to everything in the environment--from in the womb, to home environment, physical environment Nature • Biological system given at birth or at conception, genetic material that is inherited from parents Is nature and nurture a useful dichotomy ? What does it tell us? • It can be a useful theme to guide research Causality • No by single factor is the cause of an event • What is the cause of the trait, nature or nurture? o Multiple factors o Factors are involved in an event (but not direct cause) • Fallacy of exclusive determinism Heritability • People thought that things were hereditary and passed along the family bloodline • Modern understanding of how genes are attributed: o 3 key elements: Genotype(genetic materials inherited), phenotype(body characteristic and behaviour, environment (all the surroundings) o The 3 elements are related to eachother in 4 ways. • Parents contribute to genes. For e.g. being good at hockey, genes come from parents • Contributions of the kid genotype to the phenotype. For e.g. good at hand eye coordination therefore I decide to play hockey. Contribution from environment to phenotype • Influence of the child's phenotype to his/hers environment. For e.g. Phenotype • Heritability statistic: o Is the estimate of the proportion of the measured variance in a trait among individuals in a given population that is attributable to genetic differences among those individuals o Quantifies how much of the differences among o Heritability statistic tells you how much variation in a human population can be statistically accounted for by differences in genes or the environment o Differences • Twin studies o Special type of family study in heritability o Concordance of a trait among monozygotic twins Genes: Parents and Children • After having a predisposition of things then changes the impact of other things Video--Babies: Born to be good? • The human mind has no initial content • The influences of biology are minor • There are only a few general learning mechanisms that accounts for all the learning you can do • Techniques such as miniplays and magic shows are techniques used to understand what babies are thinking • Werneken believed that children are born with altruistic behaviour • Chimps like children, offer help when needed • Deciding on who to help comes from Moral reasoning • It’s the intention behind the behaviour that matters • Children were placed with different situations such as an individual sitting at one end of the table while the child is at opposite end. Individual is collecting all the crumpled balls of paper, but cannot reach the one closest to child. Child immediately takes initiative to help out the individuals Conclusion of the study • False belief is a psychological adaptation that is universally present in early childhood in China, Fiji and Ecuador • Evidence for universals across cultures--a commonality Take home message • The dichotomy between nature and nurture is false • But there are reasons to try/want to 'tease' apart contributing factors in development The Standard Social Science Model (SSM) • SSM: summary of thoughts including assumptions that underlie most undergrad curriculum and popular press reports on human issues • The SSM model assumes human mind is like a blank slate • SSM assumes that biology is irrelevant to human nature • SSM believes there is one/very few general mechanisms that account for all learning humans do • SSM acknowledges classical conditioning and operant conditioning o Type of learning called associationism: learning happens by associating one stimulus w/ another or associating behaviour w/ reward or punishment A critique of evolutionary psychology • Common to evolutionary psyc is misconception that this perspective on development is a nativist one--emphasizing role of nature • A change in genes may change the development of the person and a change in relevant environmental inputs may also change development but this does not imply one is more important than the other Causality • Causality refers to the multiple causes of one outcome • Everything in terms of timing has had to have happened in order for an outcome to occur • Having a strong intuition that we should be able to identify a single cause for any
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