Term Paper: Issues Addressed by Psychologists

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The roles of nature vs. nurture in a person's psychology has been debated for decades. By "nature," most people mean traits that are present in us when we are born, and with today's knowledge, genetics. By "nurture," people usually mean those things that can be used to influence how we grow up and how we act, including how we are parented and other factors beyond our innate biology. At one time behaviorists told us that humans could be completely programmed using behavior modification, overcoming any natural tendencies the individual had. We know that isn't true. We also know that a person's innate traits can be modified or overcome via nurture. Nature we would think of today as genetics. We know that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have genetic components, and yet not everyone inheriting that history develops those disorders, but we don't really know why one person develops bipolar disorder while another does not. It seems possible that something in the person's environment, the nurturing factor, either allowed the disorder's development or helped guard against it. Once such a disorder has developed, another outside influence, or nurturing, would be the treatment the person does or does not receive, such as psychotherapy and appropriate use of medications.

Sometimes people make conscious decisions, decisions they intend to make and for which they can give reasons. Sometimes people's behavior is unconscious, or behavior where the person does not know why he or she does it. Various psychotherapists have suggested why we exhibit unconscious behaviors. Freud talked about the Id, the Ego and the Superego and neuroses. Others suggested that we all have a "collective unconscious" that causes us to naturally believe certain things and that can influence our behaviors. Others believe the personality goes through… [END OF PREVIEW]

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