Which Theorists Support Nature/nurture Debate?


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Meg Hayes Profile
Meg Hayes answered
The theorists who support either side of the nature versus nurture debate depends entirely upon which subject you are referring to, as this debate can be applied to parts of both the psychology field and language acquisition.

The nature versus nurture debate has been argued for a very long time between theorists of all fields. The debate argues between the important of a person's innate qualities (their nature) against their personal experiences (their nurture) to determine which one is more dominate in determining individual differences in behavioral, emotional and physical traits.

  • Psychology
In the field of psychology, tests have been conducted using monozygotic and dizygotic (identical and fraternal, respectively) twins to see if any changes can be observed when they are raised by different parents. Studies are still ongoing today and a definite conclusion is yet to be made.

  • Language Acquisition
Language acquisition refers to the process where humans learn to understand, speak and use words effectively to communicate with others. Some theorists believe that children learn language by listening to their parents and others around them and repeating these words - the nature theory.

Whereas other theorists, such as Noam Chomsky, believe that all of us are born with a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which becomes active at some point in our lives and presents a small window where we can learn language. Once this window has closed, we can no longer learn language. This theory is used to explain why feral children struggle to learn to speak. Other theorists believe that our ability to speak is built into us when we are born.

It is extremely difficult to know for sure which is true with this theory as the only true way to find out would be to raise a newborn child to an adult in complete silence to see if they learn language anyway. However, this could never be conducted as it is extremely controversial and ethically challenging.

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