Nature and Nurture

Methodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

Number of sessions: 1
Hours per session: 3
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • € 195,- for non-members
  • Consult our enrolment policy for more information.


Telephone: +31 10 4082607

6 February (Thursday) 2020
Mandeville building (directions), room T19-01


This course reflects on the potential to bridge the traditional divide between the nature and nurture perspectives. While the nature perspective holds that human behavior can be explained based on genetic inheritance, the nurture perspective focuses more on the role of people’s environment in molding social behavior and attitudes. Attempts to rigidly partition our behaviours as either genetically or environmentally determined may induce misinterpretation. Social behaviour ought be approached as an inextricable game between genes (nature) and environment (nurture): genes fix the window of possibilities which can be molded by the environment.

Relevance and entry level

The course primarily offers theory and examples from urban studies to exemplify the nature and nurture divide and the relevance of synthesising the two perspectives. However, the lecturer also indicates the general relevance of this theory and examples. This course thus offers useful reflection for all researchers (both quantitative and qualitative, from all disciplines) that are interested in explaining social behaviour. No prior knowledge is required.

Learning objectives

After completing the course, participants will understand:

  • The main concepts relating to the nature versus nurture debate
  • The importance of approaching social behaviour as an interplay between nature and nurture

About the instructor

Dr. Luca D’Acci is a researcher at Politecnico di Torino and at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth. His work crosses various disciplines (including Urbanism, Mathematics, Valuations, Engineering, Cities Science, and Behavioral Science) in which he holds two degrees cum laude, a PhD and a Post-PhD. His studies cover quality of life and humanity development and progress.