Discuss about the Report for Psychology of Biological and Environmental Factors.
The intelligence of humans is affected both by the biological and environmental factors. Though, it is not totally determined by the biological or genetic factors; it has a lot to do with the environment, particularly in the case of language of the individuals and capability of learning together with analyzing the influence of the environment. This essay will discuss why a child’s early home environment has long-term effects on the social development. “The environmental factors influence children’s language learning capability and social development”. Intelligence refers to the capacity of the individuals to acquire knowledge, to think and act effectively and deal adaptively with their environment (Sternberg, 2014).
Several influences of the environment are responsible for shaping intelligence. These influences usually fall into two main categories- Biological and sociocultural (Pringle, 2013). The biological influences act in the response to the physical body, whereas the sociocultural influences are concerned for shaping the mind and behaviour of an individual. The biological influences encompass everything from nourishment to anxiety, and starts shaping intelligence from the prenatal stages. It has been revealed that nutrition affects intelligence throughout the existence of humans Doise et al., 2013). During the early periods of growth, malnutrition can impair cognitive development. The neural connections and pathways can be disrupted by an inadequate nutrition and due to this an individual is not able to recover mentally (Smith, Cowie, & Blades, 2015).
In the development of human intelligence, stress also plays a role. For example, in childhood, an exposure to violence has been linked with lower grades in school and lower IQ in the children of all the races (Chevalier et al., 2013). A study has been carried out on a group of children belonging to the urban areas and their caregivers by using standardized tests, interviews, self-report and IQ tests. This study revealed that exposure to violence and suffering in children is related with considerable decrease in the IQ learning ability. In addition, the exposure to toxins and other prenatal factors are also found to have an effect on intelligence and in few cases leads to the issues such as delay in development. On the other hand, in sociocultural influences, family is considered to be most influential in the development of children, but it is complicated to resolve the biological factors from the environmental factors in a family unit. For instance, in a child’s home the quantity of books has been revealed to positively associate with intelligence. It has also been found that a children position in birth also influences intelligence (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013).
Moving outside the family unit, the peer groups of the human beings helps in shaping them significantly (Whitcomb & Merrell, 2013). Stereotype threat is concerned with the thought that individuals belonging to a particular group will perform sequentially with generalizations apportioned to that group, irrespective of their individual ability; this threat had been recognized to affect the scores of IQ, positively as well as negatively (Brady et al., 2013). This means, that if an individual belongs to a group that is known to be intelligent, then they will appear to be more intelligent in terms of their IQ tests. In case if they are told that they belong to an unintelligent group, they will give a worse performance, even if these differences are fabricated and random (Chevalier et al., 2013).
The environmental factors influence children’s language learning capability and social development (Hartas, 2012). A theory, which explains the environmental impact on development of language, is the behaviorist theory, which was proposed by B.F Skinner (Doise et al., 2013). According to this theory, language is acquired in the similar way as any other behaviour by means of operant conditioning (Hanko, 2016). In operant conditioning, the process of learning is defined as the behavioral changes due to the outcome of the experiences that takes place after a response. According to Skinner, operant conditioning happens in the development of language when children make sounds and it is reinforced by the reactions of their parents. An excited smile, attention and hugs are examples of this reinforcement (Smith, Cowie, & Blades, 2015). All these makes the children more probable to repeat their actions and words and relate them with a corresponding event or object. Operant conditioning unites with imitation for allowing the rapid development of language to take place (Charlesworth, 2013).
Another perspective, which explains the environmental impact on development of language, is the interactionist perspective, which mainly emphasizes on the interactions between the environmental influences and innate ability (Wood, Kendal & Flynn, 2013). There are two main sub-groups that have an existence within the interactionist perspective: the societal interaction perspective of language development and the information-processing perspective of language development (Sternberg, 2014). The theorists of information-processing perspective believe that a child makes sense of complicated language by innate cognitive abilities integrated with the experiences of the environment. These theorists have the same opinion with the biological theories that a child is born with a remarkable ability of analyzing language. On the other hand, they also disagree that these abilities are possibly not enough to explain the development of language by them (Brady et al., 2013).
The supporters of social interaction theories underlines that the experiences of language and social skills are necessary for development of language (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013). According to this vision, the active possessing the ability of developing language will make efforts to communicate (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013). When the children make these efforts for the development of language, the caregivers will start providing experiences, which will help the process. By this manner, children learn to relate the development of language to its social significance (Pringle, 2013).
The condition of children’s environment is a fundamental aspect of their progression (Whitcomb & Merrell, 2013). Understanding the various environmental aspects helps the individuals to ensure that their children are getting what they need for their optimal growth as well as development. It also helps to identify a potential problem (Wood, Kendal & Flynn, 2013). The way in which the children are treated by their parents and the other caregivers has an impact on how they grow and develop (Sternberg, 2014). The parents who nurture individuality assist their children feel loved and accepted. A supportive and affectionate environment helps a child to focus on learning and he/she do not have to be bothered about gaining praise and acceptance (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013). Assisting children in solving problems, learning new things as well as spending quality time with them are some of the efficient ways of nurturing children and helping them to grow and develop (Hanko, 2016).
Inadequate opportunities of learning are one of the main contributors in disrupting the development of children (Charlesworth, 2013). Some of the psychologists suggest that playing games with the children is an effective way of promoting healthy development. As children get older, the parents should play with them and help them in solving the problems (Doise et al., 2013).
Children’s early home environment has a significant impact on their health and well-being. Starting from childhood, a complex environment of the home can disturb the stress response system of the brain, hamper the healthy development, and lead to the reduction of caregiving which is received by a child (Chevalier et al., 2013). According to different studies it has been found that a negative environment in the home during the first five years leads to several developmental problems such as depression, anxiety, aggression, impaired cognitive and language development and lack of interest in studies (Hartas, 2012).
It has been revealed by the brain imaging research that growing up in a poor environment causes the children’s brain to develop in a different way (Brady et al., 2013). For instance, living in an environment, which is affected by poverty and chaos, can result in the changes of stress system of the brain that enhance a child’s susceptibility to chronic diseases in the future (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013). The studies of small children have recognized distinct patterns of the activity of the brain associated with income of the family as well as socioeconomic status, particularly in those areas of the brain that are associated with social and emotional development, learning and recollection, and language ability (Whitcomb & Merrell, 2013).
In the end, it can be concluded that human intelligence is not totally determined by the biological factors but it has lot to do with the environment, predominantly in the case of language learning capability. The environmental factors influence the language learning capability and social development of children. The environmental conditions of children are a fundamental aspect of their development. Understanding the different environmental aspects helps us to make sure that the children are getting what they need for their optimal growth as well as development. It also helps in identifying potential problems. The way in which the children receive treatment by their parents and the other caregivers has an impact on how they grow and develop. Thus, the environmental aspects should not be overlooked as they are essential for language learning capability and social development of children effectively.
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