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The processes external to an organism that nourish it as it develops according to its genetic code or that cause it to swerve from its genetically programmed course. Environmental factors that influence development.

In the context of psychology, nurture refers to the influence of environmental factors on the development and behavior of an individual. This includes all external conditions, experiences, and cultural influences that affect someone from conception onwards, in contrast to genetic influences, or "nature."

Description

Nurture encompasses a broad range of factors, such as parenting styles, education, social interactions, cultural norms, and life experiences, which all contribute to the psychological and emotional development of an individual. Psychologists study how these environmental influences shape behaviors, personalities, abilities, and emotional well-being. The longstanding debate between nature and nurture focuses on determining the relative contributions of genetics and environment to human development.

Application Areas

Nurture is a key concept across several areas within psychology:

  • Developmental psychology: Examines how different nurturing environments affect cognitive, social, and emotional growth.
  • Clinical psychology: Considers how factors like family background and personal relationships influence mental health.
  • Educational psychology: Studies how educational practices and experiences contribute to learning and personal development.

Well-Known Examples

Research on nurture includes studies like those on identical twins reared apart, where similarities and differences can often be attributed more clearly to environmental factors than to genetic ones. Another example is the examination of the outcomes of different parenting styles on child development, such as the effects of authoritative versus permissive parenting.

Treatment and Risks

Understanding the impact of nurture is crucial for addressing many psychological issues:

  • Therapeutic approaches: Psychologists often work to modify environmental factors that contribute to a person's mental health issues. For example, family therapy might be used to improve communication within a family to nurture better relationships.
  • Preventive measures: Interventions can be targeted at early stages of development to ensure healthier psychological outcomes, such as programs aimed at enhancing attachment between parents and infants.

Weblinks

Articles with 'Nurture' in the title

  • Nature / Nurture: Nature / Nurture: Nature/nurture refers to the differences between individuals, to wit: by Nature- there are differences in the genes-. by Nurture differences in the environments humans were raised in
  • Nature versus Nurture debate: Nature versus Nurture debate refers to a debate within developmental psychology over the relative importance of biological predispositions (Nature) and environmental influences (Nurture) as determinants of human development
  • Nurture perspective: Nurture perspective is a term used in psychology which refers to the assumption that behavior patterns are mostly learned rather than inherited. In Psychology, Nurture perspective is also known as Empiricism or, more rarely, as Nurturism

Summary

In psychology, nurture refers to the array of environmental influences that shape an individual's psychological traits and behaviors. This concept is fundamental in understanding how various external factors contribute to psychological development and are considered in therapeutic contexts to improve mental health outcomes.

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