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Psychology: Nature or nurture

When babies are born they don’t have to be taught how to cry, they are born with that ‘knowledge’. They do have to be nurtured and helped to learn how to walk and to talk. The distinction between ‘nature and nurture’ can be blurred and it is a subject that psychologists research and theorise over.

I took a couple of photos not long ago of the entrances to two different schools in the same vicinity. I put both photographs on Facebook. The photo of the primary and junior school got a lot of interest. Over 100 people clicked like and made comments. They were all positive comments saying they had happy memories of that school. Many of them would have gone on to continue their education at the nearby high school. That photograph was ignored. Why? Did they have a less than happy time in high school?

I was happier at infant and junior school and so maybe my view of what might have happened is coloured by my own experiences. That can be a problem when we try the come up with a theory about nature or nurture. We are all prejudiced by our own experiences.

My theory is that children play nice when they are infants, but then they are taught to compete. The report cards that make them top of the class or bottom of the class; the gold stars, the marks and the tests are all competitive. They are encouraged to play competitive games and sports. They are taught to be competitive and then go on to high school, where the competition becomes more intense with examinations to test their competitiveness. Is all the stress and unhappiness the right way to nurture a successful society? I don’t think it is.

What do you think? Please share your views in the comments box… You can also subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter for updates.

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