Nature vs Nurture

Information about Nature vs Nurture

Published on December 11, 2008

Author: aSGuest6243



Slide 1: Nature versus Nurture Learning Objectives : Learning Objectives Following this lecture, students should have a knowledge of Darwin’s and Galton’s pioneering works, and an appreciation of how these impact upon the ongoing nature-nurture debate in psychology. Lecture plan : Lecture plan Charles Darwin: - The Life of Darwin - Darwin’s theories - Darwin and Psychology - Darwin’s influence Francis Galton: - The Life of Galton - Galton’s influence and contributions - Hereditary Genius - Correlation and Regression Nature vs. Nurture Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) : Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) The Life of Darwin : The Life of Darwin Born 1809 in Shrewsbury From a wealthy and distinguished family Studied medicine at Edinburgh (disliked), then religion at Cambridge Voyage of the Beagle, 1831-1836 Election to the Royal Society in 1839 Darwin-Wallace paper on ‘Evolutionary Theory’ (1858) On The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection, Or The Preservation Of Favoured Races In The Struggle Of Life (1859) (long delay…) More psychological works The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) A Biographical Sketch of an Infant (1877) Became ill and reclusive, eventually dying in 1882 aged 73 Buried in Westminster Abbey beside Isaac Newton The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection : The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection Darwin’s first book Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (1839) Reflected on his observations for 22 years “The mystery of mysteries” (how did changes in animals developed? how did we come to be here?) Economist Thomas Malthus (1766-1805)poor people will always be a poor and stable population because of limited food supplies Only the best adapted will survive… Inherited characteristics = natural selection ‘On the Origin of Species…’ : ‘On the Origin of Species…’ Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913) produced the same theory Darwin’s and Wallace’s theories jointly aired in public in 1858, Darwin’s book in 1859 Descended from monkeys? Public religious debate in 1860 – Thomas Huxley supported Darwin and ‘evolutionary theory’ won support 1861: fossil remains of archeopteryx and great apes discovered Not proof in themselves, but did offer plausible evidence Darwin and Psychology : Darwin and Psychology Towards the end of ‘Origin of Species’ Darwin said: “In the distant future… psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) : The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) Humans descended from animal ancestors No fundamental differences in structural or mental capacities Animals show: emotions (courage, jealousy, pride, shame, humour) cognitive functions (memory, attention, dreams) Animals are also able to reason (Descartes = humans only) “The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind.” The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) : The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) Emotions like all human characteristics are inherited and evolved Emotions are best understood as direct/indirect consequences of adaptive reaction Three general principles: Direct serviceability of expression (staring eyes when surprised = see object better) Antithesis of direct serviceability Side effects from activation of the nervous system cf. psychodynamic theories(We unconsciously betray signs of animal ancestry - Freud) Francis Galton (1822-1911) : Francis Galton (1822-1911) The life of Galton : The life of Galton Born on Feb. 16, 1822, in Birmingham Younger relative of Darwin Child prodigy, independently wealthy, very poor student Birmingham Medical School, doesn’t finish Trinity College, Cambridge, medicine (1840), doesn’t finish Cambridge, mathematics, doesn’t finish Inherited a fortune (1844) Noted explorer, geographer, meteorologist, balloonist, biological researcher… and psychologist Became interested in individual differences at Cambridge Hereditary Genius (1869) eminence and intelligence are inherited Coined the word ‘eugenics’ Galton’s Contributions and Influence : Galton’s Contributions and Influence Developed both intelligence tests and statistical correlation Fingerprints: classfied into ‘loops’, ‘arches’ and ‘whorls’ Self-report questionnaires in psychology Questionnaires on mental imagery Word-association studies (cf. Psychoanalysis) Beauty maps of Britain (?) Influenced geography, meteorology, biology, statistics, criminology and psychology Hereditary Genius : Hereditary Genius Drew on Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species…’ most important human evolutionary characteristics = intellectual and psychological Noted that eminence ran in families = inherited Hereditary Genius : Hereditary Genius Three pieces of ‘evidence’: The Normal Distribution. Quetelet had already shown height, etc. = normally distributed. Pedigrees of Genius. Imperfect, but clear tendency for relatives to excel and excel in similar fields Adoptive vs Biological Relatives Studies. Adopted “nephews” of Popes did not grow up to be eminent Eugenics : Eugenics Galton had a utopian (dangerous?) vision ‘Eugenics’ = improving human race via selective breeding Eugenic parents to be identified via intelligence tests administer to all Eugenics : Eugenics IQ measurement (?) : head size: power of the brain indicated by its size reaction time: neurological efficiency related to speed sensory acuity: retarded people (and women!) less likely to feel pain/be able to discriminate tea and coffee IQ tests not meaningful until Alfred Binet (1905) Nature versus Nurture : Nature versus Nurture Darwin supported Galton’s work Alphonse de Candolle proved the opposite(environmental and cultural factors shape success) due to moderate climates, democracy, tolerant religions, thriving commercial interests Galton made some concessions(environment does have a minimal role) disproportionate amount of eminent people were Scottish = superior education system Galton developed MZ/DZ twin studies to separate the influences of nature and nurture Learning Objectives : Learning Objectives Nature vs. NurtureHow much of the Human (psychological) make-up is a result of environment influence and how much is a result of phylogenetic heritage Not a strictly a psychological problem Born with Charles Darwin Defined by Francis Galton Implied in Wundt and Freud (experience vs instincts) Some Psychological implications: Is CONSCIOUSNESS only human? Is INTELLIGENCE only human? Is LANGUAGE only human? Are EMOTIONS only human? Can we change anything at all of our psyche? Darwin’s Influence : Darwin’s Influence Evolution Almost universally accepted within science Individual differences Crucial issue in human research (biology, physiology, psychology, etc.) Comparative Psychology Important branch of psychology (understanding animal psychology to understand human psychology ) Neuropsychology/Psychopharmacology Animal experimentation Darwin’s Influence : Darwin’s Influence ‘Eugenics’ Josef Mengele “racial hygiene" (1930s-1940s) In Social Democratic Sweden, 62,000 ‘mentally defective’ people where forcibly sterilised for 40 years (1935-1976) Prince & Hartnett (1993) between 1924-1972, in Viginia, USA, 7,500 women sterilised for failing Stanford-Binet IQ test Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) ‘Social Darwinism’ = Coined “Survival of the fittest” ‘Sociobiology’ Wilson, O. E. (1975). Sociobiology Herrnstein, R. J. & Murray, C. (1994). The Bell Curve: The Reshaping of American Life by Difference in Intelligence. ‘Evolutionary Psychology’ Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene Daniel Dennett. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea Steven Pinker. How the Mind Works

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