What Is the Difference Between Nature and Nurture?

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Nature refers to traits and characteristics that are inherited or genetic in origin, while nurture refers to traits and qualities that are learned by organisms as they grow. The terms “nature” and “nurture” consist of many different subcategories in the field of psychology. These categories fall under several different approaches and theories, which work together to describe the complex characteristics of humans and animals.

Some characteristics or approaches are considered elements of nature, while others include traits that are derived from a nurturing environment. The biological approach favors a naturalistic view of human and animal traits. This approach uses biological rationale to explain the inheritance and genetic dispersal of key characteristics that allow humans and animals to reproduce, perform actions, make decisions and move. Those who follow the biological approach ascribe these qualities to genetics, hormones and neurological chemicals.

Psychoanalysis is another approach that describes human behavior through natural traits. Those who adhere to this philosophy believe that traits and genes drive basic human emotions and actions, such as sexual behavior and aggression.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is behaviorism, which asserts that all behaviors learned by humans and animals are a result of their surrounding environments. Likewise, the humanism approach traces the satisfaction of basic needs to learned traits.