Broad Street Humanities Review: Are individuals more influenced by nature or nurture?

Three cartoon figures hold a sign saying 'Born a Tory': Are Individuals more influenced by nature or nurture?'. Agains a background of leaves, additional text reads 'Week 7 Thursday, November 26, 5-6pm GMT, Register using the Zoom link!'

Founded in 2019, the Broad Street Humanities Review (BSHR) is the University of Oxford’s very first undergraduate humanities journal. They aim to bridge the gap between undergraduate study and graduate publication and  invigorate interdisciplinary academic writing in the humanities. This term, the theme of their Autumn journal issue is Nature, and they have organised a series of events that will explore this theme from different disciplinary angle.

Their next event is 'Born' a Tory: are individuals more influenced by nature or nurture?


Are some people just naturally more prone to neurodivergency? Could practice really make you the perfect pianist? Can you be 'born' a Tory?


In this debate, experts discuss the extent to which our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, characters, and skillsets are a result of our upbringing, and how much a result of biology. We tend to think who we are mostly reflects our personal efforts and our upbringing, but there's evidence may well suggest that heritable traits influence us greatly from birth. Experts suggest that obesity is often more determined by genetics than lifestyle choice, but how does this translate to human nature?


It is through this lens that we peer into human nature to discuss key questions. Do some humans need theatre, music, and art to be fulfilled while other don't? Does lockdown hit some harder than others? And do our political opinions entirely reflect our upbringing and rational analysis, or might genetics tip us towards voting Tory or Labour, Democrat or Republican?


Broad Street Humanities Review are honoured to host Professor Alison Gopnik and Professor Sophie von Stumm as our speakers for this debate. Professor Gopnik is Professor of Psychology and Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. A world leader in cognitive science, she has particular expertise in the study of children’s learning and development and is the author of over 100 journal articles and several books. Her research focuses on how children create intuitive theories about the world, other people, and themselves. She has explored how developmental psychology can illuminate philosophical problems and how language reshapes our understanding of the world.


Professor von Stumm is Professor of Psychology in Education and Director of the Hungry Mind Lab at the Department of Education at the University of York. She is also Deputy Editor for the British Journal of Psychology and Associate Editor for the Journal of Personality alongisde being on the Board of Directors for the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences and the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences. Her research centres on the causes and consequences of individual differences in learning, in particular with regards to how the genome predicts educational outcomes and the role of personality traits in learning.


Join the Broad Street Humanities Review on Thursday, November 26, from 5pm to 6pm (GMT). Register for the event here!

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