Development Approach Nature Psychology Humans active or passive beings? Psychologists maintain that humans are active recipients as well as participants in their course of development. Man seeks to understand the strategies that he can adopt in order to influence development Jean Piaget emphasized the active participation of the child in acquiring cognitive skills acquisition of knowledge and ability to use it effectively.
Some philosophers believed that humans are passive beings whose development is entirely dependent on the environmental stimuli/ forces. These conditions may be internal i.e. food, water, companionship etc or external i.e. previously experienced reward or punishment These psychologists tend to view differences in the patterns of development in which an individual is exposed to different environmental situations
Nature versus Nurture
• Nature means hereditary influences.
• Nurture refers to environmental influences, in child development.
• Once, it was assumed that these were significant forces that operated independently of each other.
• In the 17th century the French philosopher René Descartes set out views which held that people possess certain inborn ideas that are long lasting and color people’s approach to the world.
• The British philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, on the other hand, took a more empirical approach and emphasized the role of experience as fully contributing to behavioral development.
• Since the days of Descates, Hobbes, and Locke, the empirical “nature” approach has led to a lot of debate; many followers and many opponents.
• Mid to late 1800′s, through to the early 1900′s the nature approach was the sole standpoint; consistent with the scientific discoveries of the role of inheritance and natural selection by Mendel and Darwin
• The psychological argument developed later; Francis Galton “Hereditary Genius” (1869); “gifted individuals” tended to come from families, which had other gifted individuals. He went on to analyze biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias, and became convinced that talent in science professions, and the arts, ran in families.
• Galton went even further arguing that it would be “quite practicable to produce a high gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations”.
• Eugenics: “the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or repair the racial qualities of future generations, either physically or mentally.” For Galton
• “What Nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly”
• “Intelligence must be bred, not trained”.
• Such arguments have had massive social consequences and have been used to support apartheid policies, sterilization programs, and other acts of withholding basic human rights from minority groups The later scientists, especially the behaviorists contested such an approach and advocated the role and significance of environmental influences Development Approach Nature Psychology