In this unit (to accompany the SAPIENS podcast S6E4), students will learn the origins of the nature versus nurture debate within the field of anthropology and explore where the debate currently stands. Students will examine the ways in which nature and nurture intersect. Students will explore how the lens of nature versus nurture shaped Freeman and Mead’s understanding of the Samoan people.
The belief that an individual’s culture influences one’s behaviors and emotions.
A scientifically inaccurate theory that strives to select and reproduce desirable hereditary characteristics in order to improve future generations.
Barlow, Fiona Kate. “Nature vs. Nurture Is Nonsense: On the Necessity of an Integrated Genetic, Social, Developmental, and Personality Psychology.” Australian Journal of Psychology 71, no. 1 (2019): 68-79.
Levitt, Mairi. “Perceptions of Nature, Nurture and Behaviour.” Life Sciences, Society and Policy 9, no. 13 (2013).
Schneider, Susan M. “The Tangled Tale of Genes and Environment: Moore’s the Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of ‘Nature vs. Nurture.’” The Behavior Analyst 30, no. 1 (2007): 91-105.
Shankman, Paul. “Culture, Biology, and Evolution: The Mead–Freeman Controversy Revisited.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 29, no. 5 (2000): 539–556.
Article: Evan Nesterak’s “The End of Nature Versus Nurture”
Article: Hunter Honeycutt’s “Nature and Nurture as an Enduring Tension in the History of Psychology”
Article: Psychology Today’s “Nature vs. Nurture”
Book: Derek Freedman’s Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth
Book: Derek Freedman, The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of her Samoan Research
Book: Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa
Podcast: Steven Pinker’s “Nature vs. Nurture: What’s More Impactful” in “The Life of the Mind, This is 42”
Catherine Torres, Freedom Learning Group