Essay about Human Development Shaped by Biology and Experience

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The first core concept suggested by From Neurons to Neighborhoods depicts human development forming from the interplay of an individual’s biology and experience. Early scientists in this particular field created testable hypotheses to understand the dynamic interaction between the nature-nurture phenomenon. For example, some scientists such as Arnold Gesell considered emerging skills to be the product of an individual’s genetic make-up, while others, such as John B. Watson, speculated human behavior was determined by the surrounding environment (Shonkoff & Philips, 2001, 23). Moreover, Nobel Prize winner Ivan Pavlov’s and North American scientist B.F. Skinner’s research in behaviorism contain principles in classical and operant conditioning which can help further explain this occurrence.
Pavlov’s classical conditioning is a learning process in which a substantial stimulus is connected with a common one; therefore, the significance of the common stimuli is heightened (Berger, 2011, 40). There are two necessary parts of classical conditioning which pertain to the first core concept of the nature-nurture development. The first deals with biology. Pavlov discovered a dog will tend to drool at the smell of food (Berger, 40). The biological design of the dog determines how fast or slow its metabolism is and whether or not it will seek hunger-fulfilling stimuli such as food. Moreover, a dog’s hunger may also be determined not just from the speed of its metabolism, but also by how much energy it has exhausted through daily activities. Likewise, a human is also genetically predisposed to seek out fulfilling stimuli when his or her biological needs are not met. In summary, just as a do...

... middle of paper ... will assess in what ways a child can be intellectually challenged or trained so the child may learn to become a thriving adult one day. For example, a mother of a toddler will help him or her learn how to speak and use a toilet. On the other hand, a mother of a twelve year old will encourage him or her to learn how to cook dinner or write a research paper. However, despite the encouragement and guidance of a mentor, a novice must also determine what his or her own skill abilities are and how to regulate his mental, emotional and physical capabilities to reach full development potential.

Works Cited

Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span. (Eighth Edition). Worth Publishers.

Shonkoff, J. & Phillips, D. (Eds.). (2001). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

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