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Nature Nurture

Were you born that way? Lecture to UK A level Psychology students
by

Cara Flanagan

on 10 April 2015

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Transcript of Nature Nurture

Were you born that way?
Nature
Nurture
Fascination with
twins
genes
maturation
parents
school
friends
media
what you eat
where you live
childhood diseases
smoking
ELYSE SCHEIN: It's kind of jarring and thrilling to see a carbon copy of the same person, partially because twins really do force us to question what is it that makes each of us who we are?





by Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein
Genetic determinism
Twin studies
MZ vs DZ
MZ reared apart
Adoption studies
Compare similarities between child and
Genetic effects depend on what environment they are tested in.
Genetically identical

But ...

Some facial differences

Different handedness

Brains often dissimilar even at birth
Genetically identical
but
Some facial differences
Different handedness
Brains often dissimilar even at birth
Experience affects brain development
Colin Blakemore and Geoff Cooper (1970)
Not quite so simple ...
Marian Diamond et al. (1991)
Maguire et al. (2000)
Makes adaptive sense
If we were hard-wired for all possible abilities we would have very little spare mental capacity.

Children lose about 20 billion synapses per day up to adolescence.

Pruning these links shapes the brain to the environment in which it lives.

The development of the brain (an innate system) relies on experience to direct it.
Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select ... regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors.
YOU
Identical twins are clones
The new science of nature / nurture
Shared vs nonshared environment
Epigenetics
Your genome
Passed on to your children
Nature
EPI genome
What you eat learning smoking
E X P E R I E N C E
May be passed on to your children
Nurture
Jim twins
Jim Lewis and Jim Springer first met February 9, 1979, after 39 years of being separated.
Both were named Jim by their adoptive parents.
As children both had dogs called Toy.
Each had married two times, the first to women named Linda and the second to women named Betty.
The Jim twins lived apart but died on the same day, from the same illness.
I might discover my own twin
Nature or Nurture?
similar or different?
heredity
puberty
experience
Genetic determinism
Environmental determinism
Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
adoptive parents

biological parents
Increased genetic similarity
Niche picking
The tendency to choose environments that complement our inherited preferences/abilities,
and this enhances genetic preferences.

(Sandra Scarr and Kathleen McCartney, 1983)
60% of variance genetic
0% of variance genetic
Eric Turkheimer et al. (2003)
J.B. Watson, Behaviourist (1930)
Twins again
Eleanor Maguire et al. (2000)
Why are family members so different?
Why are identical twins who live together different?
favourite child
different teachers
same parents
divorce happened at different age
playground accident
same home
smoker
same town
Why are adptive siblings no more similar than two people selected at random?
What has this got to do with exams?
What have you learned?

Don’t separate nature and nurture.
Consider how each shapes behaviour.
Experience and even thinking changes your biology.
Jim Springer named his son James Allen, while Jim Lewis chose James Alan.
Both drank Miller Lite, smoked Salems, drove Chevrolets.
They both had holidays at the same Florida beach.
They both developed migraines at the age of 18.

They both hated baseball, but loved stock car racing.
They chewed their fingernails obsessively.
They both spent time as sheriff's deputies.
They had voted for the same candidate in the past three presidential elections.
Each Jim doted on his wife by leaving love notes for her around the house.
They both had high blood pressure, similar pulse rates, vasectomies, had the same ‘lazy eye’ and both had experienced what they thought were heart attacks.
Eric Turkheimer et al. (2003)
Individual variations, inter-species variations
Your genome
Na
ture and nurture are not antagonistic forces.

At all sorts of levels they are harmonious collaborators.

The genome is the alphabet, the epigenome helps select the letters and arrange them.

Genes are directed by experience.
BBC Horizon: Are you Good or Evil?
99% genes in common
Does it matter?
It's not all in the genes
More than meets the eye to the 'environment'
Turn out not to be identical
Prof Jim Fallon
Neuroscientist
Full transcript