Nature Versus Nurture

The nature versus nurture debate is one that has long been present in many subfields within psychology—particularly in developmental psychology. For example, developmental psychologists have debated whether nature (a person’s biological inheritance, especially his or her genes) or nurture (a person’s environmental and social experiences) is responsible for intellectual ability, musical skill, and even height and weight. This debate includes gender and focuses on the question of whether nature or nurture has a greater impact on, for example, a person’s gender development, gender performance, and gender identity. It is important to note that the focus of this entry is on gender, which is usually defined as a social and cultural construct (i.e., the roles and performances expected of people based on their gender identity), and ...

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