Nature Vs. Nurture: A Comparative Analysis

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Intelligence can be defined as the ability to learn new things or to adapt to new situations and environments. The earliest attempts to measure and quantify intelligence was by French psychologist Alfred Binet in the early 1900’s (Myers & DeWall, 2018, pp. 443). After France passed laws requiring kids to go to school, he was commissioned to create a standardized test to predict a school child’s future progress by finding out the “mental” age of the kids (pp.443). He is famously known for successfully developing and practical solving questions that predicted future school achievement (pp.443). A limitation of his test was that by validating the results against normal classroom performance levels, the intelligence test neglected to account for…show more content…
Intellectual development changes at varying rates for each individual, dependent on the interaction between both genetic and environmental factors. The nature side of the debate would argue that intelligence varies among various ethnic and social groups because it is pre-determined and innate. A limitation of this perspective is that it fails to acknowledge that environment can hinder or enhance an individual's intellectual development. Conversely, the nurture side would argue that intelligence is defined by the culture and environment in which it exists. For instance, an experiment done by Serpell in 1979 had the aim of investigating how intelligence differed from culture to culture (Berry, 1998, pp. 280). He hypothesized that Scottish children would be better at 2D drawing tasks, and Zambian children would have more experience at iron-wire modeling; he result was that the hypothesis was proven to be true (pp. 280). The implied conclusion is that cultures foster different cognitive abilities. Since the meaning and value attributed to intelligence varies amongst various culture, cultures as a whole interpret the meaning of intelligence and how it is measured. This make cultural conceptualizations of intelligence subjective to culture-specific cognitive…show more content…
The formation of negative stereotypes can cause discrimination and preconceptions about a certain group of people, which then may influence them to conform to them. For example, in 1995, Aronson and Steele performed experiments on black and white students at Stanford University with the aim of investigating the effect of stereotype threat on performance (Matsumoto & Juang, 1996, pp.146). There were two tests done in the method. The first group of black students were not primed of the race before the standardized test, and a seperate group of black students were, instead, told to record their race on a demographic questionnaire beforehand (pp.146). The findings was that the first group was performed significantly higher than the second group (pp.146). Furthermore, in the second test, students were notified that the exam was a measure of intellectual ability (pp.146). The results were that blacks students scored lower on average than white students (pp.146). This example shows the stereotype threat in action because it influenced the African American students to perform in a way that confirmed the stereotype that blacks are generally less intelligent than whites. This negative racial stereotype was enough to arise inhibiting doubts and anxieties that threaten how the black students evaluate their abilities and influenced them to

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