Individual’s Human Development

6 June 2016

The environments or “contexts” of life play a major role in the development of human beings throughout the lifespan. Even the most ardent genetically oriented human beings acknowledge that the environment contributes to human development. Thus Nurture is important in this respect.  However, it is not enough simply to state that environment is important in the analysis of a person’s character. This is where the importance of nature comes in.

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  Although developmental theories have emerged to describe the growth and maturation of the individual, a parallel trend has been to describe the changing pattern of the family life cycle as a series of developmental stages (Watson, 1913). Family developmentalists view the family, like the individual, as having certain prime functions at certain points in the life cycle. In the case of Pavlov, both his environment and his innate nature contributed to his stature as one of man’s most famous scientists.

Classical conditioning refers to the formation of a single association by means of a procedure developed by Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900s. Pavlov’s special field of study was the digestive secretions of the body, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1904.On of the secretions being studied was salivation. To obtain a precise measure of secreted saliva under varying conditions, Pavlov inserted a small tube into the salivary glands of experimental dogs.

When the dog salivated, the fluid was routed into Pavlov’s measuring cups. By this method, he could determine not only when the salivation occurs, but also how much and at what rate. For one time—indeed, even for today—it was a remarkably clear and rigorous estimate of response strength.

It has become one of the most productive areas in all of psychology. This paper shall look into the environmental and internal factors that influence human behavior and attempt to explain how these two factors interact in a person’s life to bring about his present personality and character.

During his studies of salivation, Pavlov noted what he called “psychic secretions.” If food is placed in the mouth of the animal, it will secrete saliva automatically – this response is innate not learned. But the dogs in Pavlov’s apparatus, soon began to salivate to other stimuli as well. For example, the sight of food, the sight of the person who fed them, and even the feeder’s footsteps in the hall, were enough to elicit salivation. These associations had to be learned.

They were in effect anticipations of food in the mouth. Because the response (salivation) was not controlled by the simple reflex connections, come higher neural processes had to be involved. T was as if the mind took over the control of the reflexive act—hence, “psychic secretions—as if the thought of food was enough to produce the same response as food itself.

It stressed that children are active, curious explorers who seek to adapt to their environments, rather than passive biological urges who are molded by their parents. Pavlov, as a child, was indeed a curious, precocious youngster. His father has a big influence into what he turned out to be.

Meanwhile, Watson (1913) behaviorism is the conclusions about human development should be based on observations of overt behavior rather than on speculations about  unconscious motives or cognitive processes that are unobservable. Moreover, Watson also believed that well-learned associations between external stimuli and observable responses are the building blocks of human development.

When Petrovich Pavlov was a child, he was involved in an accident that prevented him from going to school. Thus, it was only when he was 11 years old that he was able to go back and have a formal schooling. He went to theological seminary and eventually at 21 he decided to pursue psychology. It is said that “he was ironically diverted from becoming a second-generation clergy, by the works of Charles Darwin and Russian physiologist Ivan Sechenov, which he read while in seminary. Even his marriage was not spared the cyclic heartbreak then elation pattern that appeared to prevail in his life.” (Pavlov.). He had tragedies to deal with when he had a family of his own. Two of his six children died.

Like Watson, Skinner believed that habits develop as a result of unique operant learning experiences. Pavlov’s curiosity for learning developed because he had the supervision of his mother during those years he stopped schooling.  He formed the habit of  having the passion for learning, investigating and experimenting.

Meanwhile, nowhere is Bandura’s cognitive emphasis clearer than in his decision to highlight observational learning as a central developmental process. Observational learning is simply learning that results from observing the behavior of other people.  Bandura stressed observational learning in his cognitive social learning theory simply because this active, cognitive form of learning permits young children to quickly acquire thousands of new responses in a variety of settings.

Indeed, the environments or “contexts” of life play a major role in the development of human beings throughout the lifespan. Even the most ardent genetically oriented human beings acknowledge that the environment contributes to human development. Thus Nurture is important in this respect.  However, it is not enough simply to state that environment is important in the analysis of a person’s character. This is where the importance of nature comes in.

Born on Sept 14, 1849 in Russia, Pavlov was prepared for a life of discipline and excellence. Pavlov’s father Peter Dmitrivich was a priest while his brother Ivan was also part of the church staff.  It was his father Dmitrivich who was highly influential in carving Pavlov to be the way he turned out in his later years. His early environment under the tutelage of a highly educated and dignified father became one of the biggest factors that explain his passion for excellence in life.

In practical life, the one that plays a more dominant role for example, in crime control policy, is the one that centers more on the role of the biological setup of the person and the family with whom he grows up with.  The majority of children grow up in a family context that usually includes a father and/or a mother and, in many instances, brothers and sisters. The family has been shown to have an impact on important processes, including the development of self-concept, sex roles, language, intellectual abilities and interpersonal skills (Bronfenbrenner, 1986).

Explanation of the interaction of heredity and environment is not a simple matter. Hereditary factors operate from the moment of conception in determining the features of human growth and development. Our current understanding of human genetics makes it fairly clear that many human physical traits are inherited.

We know that genetic factors are involved in the development of the human body from the time of conception. However, we do not fully understand the scientific mechanisms of the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in controlling human growth and development. The relationship of this nature versus nurture interaction to human behavior is indeed a much-debated issue.

Where do differences in personality or temperament come from? Friends or relatives are frequently quick to comment that an infant has a temper “like his father” or is easygoing “like his mother,” suggesting that such differences are inherited. Does this mean that infant temperament is generically determined?

Not necessarily, since the environment plays an important role in the expression of temperament. Researchers say that temperament is best viewed as a natural bias toward a given behavioral direction (difficult, easygoing, introverted and extroverted). The expression of this bias depends on one’s environment or experience: the child with a temperamental “bias” for a high activity level may in fact be easygoing and mild-mannered in a relaxed family environment.

The bias for high activity levels may in fact be easygoing and mild mannered in a relaxed family environment. The bias for high activity levels may appear only in a stressful or competitive situation (Wiggam, 1923). Temperament and personality depend for their expression on the joint contributions of heredity, environment (parenting strategies) and individual behavior (through the active selection of environments, particularly as the child grows older).

Children need to be exposed in an environment where they must have opportunities to feel free to be choice-makers, to know that they can have justice for themselves. A school ought to encourage children to feel appreciative of their own individuality. They need to feel playful and to see life as fun, and to have their teachers and parents join in on this approach to fun living. And mostly, they need to feel creatively alive, to have a burning sense of desire and appreciation for everything in life. To eschew boredom and dullness, and to glow in the excitement of each and everyday. This is not some farfetched ideal.

Pavlov thought that the cortex was the only site of new neural connections in learning. His evidence was that members of his laboratory were not able to condition dogs from whom the cortex had been surgically removed. But later, in Pavlov’s laboratory, and elsewhere, investigators found that they could obtain conditioning in mammals even after all the cerebral cortex had been removed.

For example, a dog with its cortex removed can learn to lift its paw whenever a light flash occurs to avoid shock. Such conditioning occurs slowly  and irregularly. However, because such animals tend to be distractible and irritable and they do not have keen sensory discrimination. But the evidence is clearly antagonistic to Pavlov’s  claim that cortex is necessary.

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