Nurture vs. Nature in Cognition and Learning - Paper Example

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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I have always wondered whether smart kids are born intelligent, or they acquire excellent cognition through accumulated intelligence experiences from the environment. My thinking coincides with one of the oldest debates in psychology field regarding the extent to which nurture and nature influence cognition and learning. According to Brown (2013), the lack of clarity on the difference between the concept of cognition and learning is the reason for the longstanding arguments on the superiority between nurture and nature. Brown (2013) while supporting environment as the primary contributor in learning and cognition, defines learning to the procedures involved in the acquisition of knowledge and skills while cognition is a process in the learning process whose attributes include problem-solving, remembering, knowing, and thinking in the process of acquiring knowledge and skills. Along with everyones school life, no one will ever miss an instance in which other people say a particular child is intelligent just like their father or mother. Similarly, the supremacy between colleges and universities have led to employees referring graduates are skillful and knowledgeable because of studying in a particular school. The statement childrens cognition is the product of their immediate environment summarizes the proponents point of reference as they support the role of nurture as the principal factor in childrens cognition development and learning CITATION Dav16 \l 1033 (Morgan, 2016).

Nurture explains the impact of a childrens surroundings on their cognition, behavior, and personalities CITATION Pau16 \l 1033 (Light & Butterworth, 2016). Researchers who emphasize the role of environment in a childs cognitive development propose that the way parents bring up their children influence their learning and behavior and determine the type of people they become. On the other hand, the proponents of nature as the key player in learning cite empirical studies that attribute genetic factors to be elements of childrens cognition development and intelligence. Other researchers cite biological evidence that links intelligence and cognition development with X chromosomes in women which carry genes responsible for intelligence and children inherit from their mothers. In that sense, it is the genetic makeup which makes children susceptible to traits foster cognition and learning hence the reason some children exposed to the similar learning environment at their childhood have different learning capabilities. Another reasoning behind the role of nature in childrens learning and cognition is Morgan (2016) suggestion that it is possible to inherit other traits from parents just like the way children take after their parents body shapes and types, hair and looks.

Adoption and twins experiments complicate the debates because the studies concur that it is almost impossible to differentiate the environmental and hereditary influence on cognition and learning. For instance, the research by Martinez (2010) suggests that there are differences in cognitive and learning capabilities of sisters, brothers and their parents with same genetic makeup but living in identical environments. On the other hand, twins raised in different backgrounds according to a study by Light and Butterworth (2016) have dissimilar intellectual quotient (IQ). The findings in Martinez (2010) research shows that in the event individuals from the same families have similar IQs; it is still difficult to discern whether environments or genes are responsible for the genotypic similarities. My position about the contention is that both surrounding setting and genetic factors have an equal contribution towards learning and cognition among children.

Research shows that threats to the environment such as poverty which limit childrens access to quality education reduce their cognition development and learning experience thus showing the impact of surroundings on cognition and learning. Opportunities and know-how are the main factors that cause children to flourish differently, and the elements are present in the environs. It is for that reason that I consider nature to be the primary players in the development of many aptitudes. There is another instance in which genetic role in learning needs the intervention of an environmental factor for successful education is when children learn how to roll on their own, but when they are in carriers and baby seats, parents must be there for them to roll hence portraying parents as essential elements in the learning environment. Parents thus are the primary players in childrens intellectual development as they spend most of their time with their kids hence impacting much on their education and care. According to Martinez (2010) attention, time, learning tools and activities that caregivers and children give to their children have a significant impact on their intelligence and development. Cognition development develops and increases as the brain responds to environmental changes and experiences as children utilize their five senses.

According to Martinez (2010), humans learn from the environment as they adapt to their surroundings and situations right from their childhood. A universal concept that explains the critical role of context in cognition and learning is Tabula Rasa which describes the blank state of the brain when children are born CITATION KWo12 \l 1033 (Wood, Smith, & Grossniklaus, 2012). The meaning of the concept is that as the child is born, their brains are blanks and it will take them to learn from the occurrences in the surrounding to fill the brain. It implies that individuals learn their language and behavior from the environment they grow in a Morgan (2016) supports the idea by claiming that since environmental experiences are responsible for learning, the people that children spend their time with influence their cognition development. Individuals who spend more time with children are parents as they devote almost 80% of their time at home at their childhood ages. The accent is the first aspect that demonstrates the role of environment in learning and cognition because children at their tender age develop accents that resemble the way their parents speak and consequently developing similar accents. Modelling and imitation make more childrens learning and cognitive skills vulnerable to environmental factors CITATION Dav16 \l 1033 (Morgan, 2016). The environment plays a significant role in the social development of humans as it has a direct influence on abilities to socialize, own moods, effectiveness in doing jobs and lastly on personal health. The environment has much more significant effects on learning and development in kids due to the rapid brain associated with the group.

At early levels of development, the brain of a child generates more connections than required thus using the needed and discarding those not in use. Day to day experiences is essential in determining the needed synapses as contributed by both internal and external environments. Child brain development has been compared by most studies with the construction of a building where a lack of proper materials results in a change in the desired product; hence, the lack of an appropriate environment for children results in genetic alterations CITATION MEl13 \l 1033 (Elliot, Briley, & Harden, 2013). The development of advanced social, cognitive and emotional attributes on a poor brain foundation is found to be much difficult and ineffective compared to doing the right things from the start. Since their surroundings determine children's experiences, the provided environment has a vital effect on the brain development of the child. An environment provides children with an opportunity to develop because of the positive influences in their lives successfully. Despite the possibility of differences in academic capacity between different children during birth, it is possible to maintain their potential through a supportive development surrounding. The failure to influence in the right way hinders the maximum designated mental capacity of each child. The existence of a negative growth environment for children results in some harmful behaviors (French, 2007). Uncontrolled temperaments, cognitive abilities, and decision making commonly occur in the family environment, and without notice, there is a creation of a rough development environment during growth. On the other hand, a stable and positive nurturing environment is a basic recipe for steady mental and emotional growth. Research shows that feelings and thinking ways have a direct influence a childs brain development thus bringing out a relation cognitive and emotional development CITATION Dav16 \l 1033 (Morgan, 2016). Feral children who developed in wild environments that lack human interactions are typical examples of children who develop incorrectly. Such children are bizarre than expected as they fail to know neither human customs nor language (French, 2007). The lack of a healthy environment thereby results in mental retardation, which has a direct influence on cognition and learning development. Family environment is an essential aspect of child development due to the permanent impact it has. If parents and the society are reliable, consistent and loving, there will be a high tendency for the child to develop socially, mentally and emotionally to become productive members of the community (French, 2007). Child development in disadvantaged environments results in a different brain development; for instance, a child growing in an environment marred by poverty and chaos leads to variations in the childs stress system as it becomes more vulnerable to disease infections later in their lives. On the other hand young children from different socioeconomic states developed differently with those in high-income families having better emotional, social, language and memory abilities compared to those in low-income families (McLeod, 2015).

The time a child takes in interacting with the environment plays a significant role in how the brain develops. Majority of the children spent a significant portion of their childhood in peer groups as in baby care environments where the child is found to spend at least twelve thousand mean hours in the system CITATION Jac09 \l 1033 (Shonkoff & Boyce, 2009). Additional time is in primary and secondary education levels with over four thousand hours spent in kindergarten to third-grade levels. The early environment that a child interacts with reflects the values, philosophy, and beliefs of their tutors and how the teachers attitude towards the kids as either deliberate or non-deliberate. Children are attracted to environments that they trust their social, physical and intellectual necessities can be met CITATION Pau16 \l 1033 (Light & Butterworth, 2016). They are better comfortable in places where communication is informative and attractive hence the need to transform the environment to enhance childcare. In the sensorimotor stage of Piagets theory, some learning and cognitive development occur naturally because the brain at that period undergoes rapid growth and they start walking, crawling and doing other physical actions as they interact with people and learn their language.

Safe nurturing and self-supportive environment greatly support learning and growth of infants and preschool kids, with the surroundings helping in the prevention of challenging characters and act as a source of essential elements of interventions for challenged children CITATION Mic10 \l 1033 (Martinez, 2010). The start of a childs growth is determined positively by the nature and quality of the surrounding, thus determining social, cognitive, physical and emotional interaction with others or with...

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