Nature and Nurture of Intelligence in Psychology 

Child development refers to the process of change that takes place during childhood. JE Anderson states,

“Development is concerned with growth as well as those changes in behavior which results from environmental situations”.

Child development is a journey from being dependent to being independent. Nature and nurture are two factors that play an important role in child development.

There are two factors that determine intelligence in a human, which are nature and nurture. Nature of Intelligence is the knowledge one has since birth, i.e., through genetic inheritance. Nurture of Intelligence, on the other hand, is the knowledge one has acquired through life experiences and learning. Both of these factors play a key role in examining the intelligence of an individual.

Nature vs Nurture in Intelligence

Role of Qualities And Experience

The nature of Intelligence is concerned with a person’s innate qualities. Nurture of Intelligence is concerned with the personal experience of a person.

Role of Genetics And Environment

The nature of Intelligence is influenced by genetics whereas the nurture of Intelligence is influenced by the environment.

Role of Inheritance and Learning

Intelligence is inherited in the nature of intelligence, and intelligence is learned in the nurture of Intelligence.

Role of Parents and Self

Intelligence is passed on from parents to children in terms of the nature of intelligence. Children with intelligent parents tend to be intelligent themselves. It is through one’s self-learning, experiences, and exposure, intelligence is acquired in the nurture of Intelligence.

Role of Biological and Environmental Factors

The nature of intelligence is influenced by biological factors whereas the nurture of intelligence is influenced by environmental factors.

Difference between Nature and Nurture in Child Development

The difference between nature and nurture in child development are as follows:

  1. Nature means the influence of genes and inherited characteristics whereas nurture refers to those factors that are influenced by the environment around you.
  2. Nature is determined by genes and hereditary factors whereas nurture is determined by environmental variables.
  3. Nature determines a person’s personality traits and physical appearance whereas nurture is determined by social relationships, culture, and childhood experiences.
  4. Nature involves biological influences whereas nurture involves social influences.
  5. Nature is something that comes naturally whereas nurture is something that does not come naturally.
  6. A person’s nature stays the same and cannot be changed whereas a person’s nurture can be improved as desired.
  7. Biological and family factors influence the nature of a person whereas social and environmental factors influence the nurture of a person.


The topic of whether intelligence is acquired through nature or by the process of nurture is often debated. However, it is difficult to choose one as an answer. Both nature and nurture play a significant role in determining an individual’s intelligence level.

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