Violence in Human Behavior: Nature or Nurture

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Joani Mato

Dr. Zimmerman

English 023 Section 050

Date 04/23/2011

Final Research Paper

What determines Violent Human Behavior: Nature or Nurture

The last few decades, many concerns have been rising about violent behavior in humans. It's no news that we live in a world full of crimes caused by people that are usually considered to be more violent than others. The mass media makes sure that we learn about such cases, but never provides an explanation why things like that happen? Why do they happen in some places and in some don't, and why do they mostly manifest some group of people and not in all. Perhaps there is no answer yet to the above questions, but there is certainly a great attempt to find out what shapes human behavior in general and violent behavior in particular. There are two approaches to the research being done, that genetics determine human behavior on one side , and on the other hand, the approach that the environment determines this behavior without any influence of one's genetic content. This two opposing approaches have lead to the very famous debate “Nature vs. Nurture”, a debate that still continues today. Of course the matter is not that simple. In this paper, through research I will show that both “naturte” and “nurture” affect human behavior, especially violence, and no one is dominant over the other. Nevertheless, agreeing to the fact that both genes and environment contribute, I will argue that environment plays the deterministic role creating personality of a human being. I believe that the importance of this topic is great, because knowing the cause of certain violent behaviors, would bring us closer to eliminating violence in general and theoretically decrease the number of crimes committed.

As mentioned above both, genes and environment play role in shaping human behavior in what William Bernet et. al. call “genes x environment (G x E) interaction”(1362). In the documentary “Zeitgeist: Moving Forward” Dr. Robert Sapolsky,...