Galton himself in 1883 suggested that human society could be improved by “better breeding.” In the 1920’s the American Eugenics Society campaigned for the sterilization of men and women in psychiatric hospitals.
Today in Britain many believe that the immigration policies are designed to discriminate against Black and Asian ethnic groups. scores of different ethnic groups are due to inbuilt biases in the methods of testing.
Color of eyes, straight or curly hair, pigmentation of the skin and certain diseases (such as Huntingdon’s chorea) are all a function of the genes we inherit.
These facts have led many to speculate as to whether psychological characteristics such as behavioral tendencies, personality attributes, and mental abilities are also “wired in” before we are even born.
For example, Bandura's (1977) social learning theory states that aggression is learned from the environment through observation and imitation.
This is seen in his famous Bobo doll experiment (Bandura, 1961).The nature-nurture debate is concerned with the relative contribution that both influences make to human behavior, such as personality, cognitive traits, temperament and psychopathology.It has long been known that certain physical characteristics are biologically determined by genetic inheritance.Galton (himself a relative of Charles Darwin) was convinced that intellectual ability was largely inherited and that the tendency for “genius” to run in families was the outcome of a natural superiority.This view has cropped up time and again in the history of psychology and has stimulated much of the research into intelligence testing. scores of black Americans were significantly lower than whites he went on to argue that genetic factors were mainly responsible – even going so far as to suggest that intelligence is 80% inherited.Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors.Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception, e.g., the product of exposure, life experiences and learning on an individual.The classic example of the way this affects our physical development are the bodily changes that occur in early adolescence at puberty.However, nativists also argue that maturation governs the emergence of attachment in infancy, language acquisition and even cognitive development as a whole.For many environmentalists there is a barely disguised right-wing agenda behind the work of the behavioral geneticists. More fundamentally, they believe that differences in intellectual ability are a product of social inequalities in access to material resources and opportunities.To put it simply children brought up in the ghetto tend to score lower on tests because they are denied the same life chances as more privileged members of society.