Psychology: Nature, Nurture, and Human Diversity




Meets for one hour, once per week, for six weeks.

Maybe you got your green eyes from your mother, and your freckles from your father. But where did you get your thrill-seeking personality and talent for singing? Did you learn these from your parents or was it predetermined by your genes? While it’s clear that physical characteristics are hereditary, the genetic waters get a bit more murky when it comes to an individual’s behavior, intelligence, and personality. Ultimately, we do not yet know how much of what we are is determined by our DNA and how much by our life experience. But, we do know that both play a part.

It has been reported that the use of the terms “nature” and “nurture” as a convenient catch-phrase for
the roles of heredity and environment in human development can be traced back to 13th century France. Some scientists think that people behave as they do according to genetic predispositions or even “animal instincts.” This is known as the “nature” theory of human behavior. Other scientists believe that people think and behave in certain ways because they are taught to do so. This is known as the “nurture” theory of human behavior.

Fast-growing understanding of the human genome has recently made it clear that both sides are partly right. Nature endows us with inborn abilities and traits; nurture takes these genetic tendencies and molds them as we learn and mature. End of story, right? Nope. The “nature vs nurture” debate still rages on, as scientist fight over how much of who we are is shaped by genes and how much by the environment. During this course, learners will gain a basic understanding of Psychology, and the Nature vs. Nurture debate. Using slides, slotted notes, videos, websites, interviews with psychologists, and more, I’ll facilitate learning this incredibly interesting subject.

Anticipated Course Outline

Course Outline:
Class 1: History & Charles Darwin
Class 2: Traits & Genes
Class 3: Gender
Class 4: IQ Debate
Class 5: Twin Studies
Class 6: John Watson; B. F. Skinner; Review


This course has not yet been scheduled. Please submit a request.