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Myths of Childhood by Joel Paris

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5

CHAPTER

Childhood, History, and Society

image  Nature and Nurture

Why are people so different from each other? This is one of the greatest puzzles in psychology. We only need to look around us to see how much people vary—not just in physical characteristics, but also in thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Some people are happy, others unhappy. Some are vulnerable to stress and develop mental disorders, while others sail through life unscathed. Does the explanation lie in nature or in nurture?

The commonsensical answer to this question is, of course, both. For example, both genetic and environmental factors are involved in height. Children are more ...

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