Research Argument: Like Father Like Son


Many studies have proved the importance of heredity and environment in the development of a child. Some studies argued that heredity is the most important thing in shaping the behaviour of a child. Such studies believe that the behaviour of a child depends on the character or behaviour of his parents. These studies argue that a son can develop or behave just like his father. On the other hand there are many other studies that proved that environment plays an important role in the development and behaviour of a child. In short, the debate about the role of nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) in the development of a child is still going on. This paper critically analyses these arguments.


Even though psychology has no doubt about the role of nature and nurture in shaping the behaviour of a child, it is still unsure about the extent to which inherited (i.e. genetic) or acquired (i.e. learned) characteristics affect the behaviour of a child. There are many cases in which the son of a saint became a criminal because of the influence of nurture or environment. At the same time, there are many cases in which the son of a criminal became a saint even though he was brought up in an unhealthy environment. It is a fact that inherited traits dominate among some people whereas learned traits dominate among some other people.


Physical characteristics such as the colour of eyes and colour of hair are normally determined by inherited traits or heredity. Environment or nurture may not have fewer roles in shaping the physical characteristics of a person. At the same time, both heredity and environment have significant role in the shaping of the behavioural characteristics a person. It is difficult to identify which element – heredity and environment- dominate over the other. In some cases, heredity dominates the environment whereas in other cases, environment dominates heredity.


To conclude, if heredity is the only influencing factor in the development of a child, all the people in this world should have same physical, mental and behavioural characteristics. Since no two individuals are alike -either in appearance or in behaviour- it is logical to think that environment plays a significant role in the development of a child along with heredity. While considering the physical attributes of a child, the argument “like father like son” is acceptable up to certain extent. However, while considering the mental attributes or behavioural characteristics of a person, the above argument need not be true always since environment can significantly affect the mental development of a child.

 

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