Nature vs. Nurture: Perception and Attention Research Proposal

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Nature vs. Nurture: Perception and Attention

Nature vs. nurture is an ongoing debate about whether people are born with certain traits or whether they develop these traits over time within their environments. "Nature" is a biological approach to psychology, while "nurture" is a cognitive-behavioral approach to psychology. The way this tenet relates to education is that how people learn and absorb materials is often thought to be either a reflection of the biological components of their brain. Yet others argue that it is the experiences an individual has had that shape their learning style and ultimately, their academic success. For example, Garcia and Garcia (2006) assert "The environment is the aspect of the dynamical system that the teacher can greatly manipulate to create a nurturing and fun context for learning" (p. 31).

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Perception and attention are two areas of education that can significantly influence how, and how well, a student learns. Perception and attention are the first steps in the cognitive process. Both are components of metacognition theories of learning. According to Flavell (1999) "Metacognition includes knowledge about the nature of people as cognizers, about the nature of different cognitive tasks, and about possible strategies that can be applied to the solution of different tasks. It also includes executive skills for monitoring and regulating one's cognitive activities. The majority of metacognitive studies have dealt with children's metamemory, especially their knowledge and use of memory strategies, but a large number have also investigated children's metacognition regarding language and communication, perception and attention, comprehension, and problem solving" (p. 25).

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Nature vs. Nurture: Perception and Attention Nature Assignment

The ways in which learners are able to perceive information is directly related to how they process that information. At the same time, the attention paid to that information directly affects the ability to absorb and recall that information. Whether these abilities are inherent or learned through experience with the environment is still up for debate, but many scholars believe that a combination of both nature and nurture are at work.

Rationalism vs. Empiricism: Knowledge Representation, Manipulation and Erroneous Thinking Patterns

Rationalism and empiricism are the two primary principles of knowledge. Rationalism is based on the notion that we are born with knowledge, and our innate intuition is what allows us to learn. Empiricism proponents posit that knowledge comes directly from our sensory experiences. Essentially, the debate between these two tenets are rooted in the question of whether we know what we know because of some inherent biological component of knowledge in our brains, or whether we know what we know due to our ability to see, touch and experience things. In the empiricist view, memories are organized by the different pieces of the experiences we have had, which are melded together to allow us to recognize certain patterns. This is what allows objects and experiences to have meaning, i.e., knowledge representation. According to Chen and McGrath (2003) "Knowledge is a structure with a purpose...When learners "construct their own knowledge" they are constructing a structure that has meaning to them, and when they have accomplished this, it is believed that they understand something better than they did before"

As such, recognizable patterns often take the form of conventions such as language. Language is a convention that allows people with divergent perceptions to comprehend and to communication with each other through words that share the same meanings. Congruently, problem solving occurs when learners are able to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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