A book analysis of the nurture assumption why children turn out the way they do parents matter less

Advanced Search The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do: Parents matter less than you think and peers matter more Harris, J.

A book analysis of the nurture assumption why children turn out the way they do parents matter less

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Religiosity Eye color Twin and adoption studies have their methodological limits. For example, both are limited to the range of environments and genes which they sample. Almost all of these studies are conducted in Western, first-world countries, and therefore cannot be extrapolated globally to include poorer, non-western populations.

Additionally, both types of studies depend on particular assumptions, such as the equal environments assumption in the case of twin studies, and the lack of pre-adoptive effects in the case of adoption studies.

Since the definition of "nature" in this context is tied to "heritability", the definition of "nurture" has necessarily become very wide, including any type of causality that is not heritable. The term has thus moved away from its original connotation of "cultural influences" to include all effects of the environment, including; indeed, a substantial source of environmental input to human nature may arise from stochastic variations in prenatal development and is thus in no sense of the term "cultural".

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Individual development, even of highly heritable traits, such as eye color, depends on a range of environmental factors, from the other genes in the organism, to physical variables such as temperature, oxygen levels etc. The variability of trait can be meaningfully spoken of as being due in certain proportions to genetic differences "nature"or environments "nurture".

For highly penetrant Mendelian genetic disorders such as Huntington's disease virtually all the incidence of the disease is due to genetic differences. Huntington's animal models live much longer or shorter lives depending on how they are cared for[ citation needed ].

At the other extreme, traits such as native language are environmentally determined: At a molecular level, genes interact with signals from other genes and from the environment. While there are many thousands of single-gene-locus traits, so-called complex traits are due to the additive effects of many often hundreds of small gene effects.

A good example of this is height, where variance appears to be spread across many hundreds of loci. The "two buckets" view of heritability. More realistic "homogenous mudpie" view of heritability. Steven Pinker likewise described several examples: But traits that reflect the underlying talents and temperaments—how proficient with language a person is, how religious, how liberal or conservative—are partially heritable.

When traits are determined by a complex interaction of genotype and environment it is possible to measure the heritability of a trait within a population.

However, many non-scientists who encounter a report of a trait having a certain percentage heritability imagine non-interactional, additive contributions of genes and environment to the trait.

As an analogy, some laypeople may think of the degree of a trait being made up of two "buckets," genes and environment, each able to hold a certain capacity of the trait. But even for intermediate heritabilities, a trait is always shaped by both genetic dispositions and the environments in which people develop, merely with greater and lesser plasticities associated with these heritability measures.

Heritability measures always refer to the degree of variation between individuals in a population. That is, as these statistics cannot be applied at the level of the individual, it would be incorrect to say that while the heritability index of personality is about 0. To help to understand this, imagine that all humans were genetic clones.

The heritability index for all traits would be zero all variability between clonal individuals must be due to environmental factors. And, contrary to erroneous interpretations of the heritability index, as societies become more egalitarian everyone has more similar experiences the heritability index goes up as environments become more similar, variability between individuals is due more to genetic factors.

One should also take into account the fact that the variables of heritability and environmentality are not precise and vary within a chosen population and across cultures. It would be more accurate to state that the degree of heritability and environmentality is measured in its reference to a particular phenotype in a chosen group of a population in a given period of time.

The accuracy of the calculations is further hindered by the number of coefficients taken into consideration, age being one such variable. The display of the influence of heritability and environmentality differs drastically across age groups: Some have pointed out that environmental inputs affect the expression of genes [16] see the article on epigenetics.

This is one explanation of how environment can influence the extent to which a genetic disposition will actually manifest. A classic example of gene—environment interaction is the ability of a diet low in the amino acid phenylalanine to partially suppress the genetic disease phenylketonuria.

Yet another complication to the nature—nurture debate is the existence of gene—environment correlations. These correlations indicate that individuals with certain genotypes are more likely to find themselves in certain environments.

Thus, it appears that genes can shape the selection or creation of environments. Even using experiments like those described above, it can be very difficult to determine convincingly the relative contribution of genes and environment.

A study conducted by T.

A book analysis of the nurture assumption why children turn out the way they do parents matter less

The results shown have been important evidence against the importance of environment when determining, happiness, for example. In the Minnesota study of twins reared apart, it was actually found that there was higher correlation for monozygotic twins reared apart 0.

Also, highlighting the importance of genes, these correlations found much higher correlation among monozygotic than dizygotic twins that had a correlation of 0. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources.She postulates that the role of parental upbringing has no influence on a child's personality or, in her words, “how the children ultimately turn out.” Much of the book is dedicated to challenging the traditional notions and theories relating to the parental influence on a child's development from various theoretical standpoints such as .

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Download Citation on ResearchGate | The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn out the Way They Do | The author argues that it is what children experience outside the home, in the company of their peers, that matters most.

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