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The nature versus nurture debate refers to arguments about the origin of particular differences in human behaviours, appearances, emotions, thinking skills, and aspects of personality. Causes of these differences between humans have been attributed to one of two possible sources, either innate factors (the ‘inner’ biology or ‘nature’ of the person) or factors ‘outside’ this inner nature, such as the environment that surrounds and nurtures the person. Despite continuing popular fascination with the notion of opposing forces, biologists have for many decades viewed the two sources as completely intertwined. One famous biologist, Susan Oyama, suggested that the perseverance of the debate, regardless of scientific opinion, is linked to arguments in families about the cause of an unexpected quality in a person. Families might argue about ...

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