Beyond Nature versus Nurture

  • Robert Plomin


Shakespeare first brought the words nature and nurture together in The Tempest, when Prospero describes Caliban as “a devil on whose nature nurture can never stick.” The idea of nature in conflict with nurture was the impetus for the alliterative phrase nature—nurture, used by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton (1865), more than a century ago. Galton argued that “there is no escape from the conclusion that nature prevails enormously over nurture” (1883, p. 241). Joining these two words created a fission that exploded into the longest-lived controversy in the behavioral sciences. The dash in nature—nurture connoted the implicit conjunction “versus.”


Mental Illness Genetic Influence Genetic Research Identical Twin Reading Disability 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Plomin
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PsychiatryLondonUK

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