Establish Prior Knowledge
Discuss the nature vs. nurture with students. Point out that, according to the nature theory people behave as they do because of their genetic make-up. According to the nurture theory people think and behave in certain ways because they are taught to do so. Call on students to say which theory they agree with and why.
Tell students that in the snapshot they are about to see scientists investigate how neglect or abuse in early childhood effects the way the brain regulates stress.
Have students view the Snapshot and read the synopsis. Use the following questions to guide a class discussion:
- According to the studies, what did neglect or abuse in childhood result in later in life?
- What was different about the DNA of people who were abused as children compared to those who were not?
- How do the DNA tags in abuse victims affect their ability to handle stress?
Use the following questions to wrap up your discussion:
- Do these studies change your opinion about whether nature or nurture determines an individual’s behavior, personality and intelligence? Why?
- Do you think these studies are one hundred percent conclusive? Why or why not?