Empathy is the reaction an individual will have to the observed experiences of another person (David, 1983). Nature is the genes in a human which determine the different traits we have, whereas nurture is the theory that environmental factors are the real influences of our behaviour. In my opinion empathy is a combination between nature, as it is inherited through genes, but also nuture, as a person can learn to become more or less empathetic.The levels of empathy could be nature as psychopathy could be a result abnormality in the brain structure. Researchers have been unable to find any factors that could contribute to the development of psychopathic traits. Furthermore, though serial killers like Charles Manson were abused and neglected as children, the list of serial killers with a normal childhood is long. Famous serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Jeff Dahmer and Dennis Rader grew up in healthy households with supportive family members.
It was discovered that psychopaths have difficult following the social norms, we know that people with autism spectrum disorder have difficulties picking up on social cues or do the right things in social contexts. However through nurture higher functioning autists can normally learn to make the appropriate responses in social situations. (Berit Brogaard D.
M.Sci., Ph.D) Empathy is also down to nurture as depending on someone’s job, they may gain empathy as it may be required in their job. Also, they would be able to transfer this into their everyday life, and perform selfless acts.
For example, Roi Klein, an Israeli army major who jumped on a live grenade to save his men. Or someone who may be used to performing empathetic acts in their everyday life, may transfer these into different situations, such as Aldridge, who is a mother of 2, so looks after her children and satisfies their needs, selflessly ran barefoot to a railroad crossing to rescue a man whose wheelchair was stuck on the tracks. She yanked him free just before a train would have hit them.