28 May 2022


Biological and Environmental Impact on Processes and Disorders

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

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The nature vs. nurture debate rotates around the same question through ages: what factors impact the mental development of human, especially its learning and memory? It was proved that people inherit not only physical features like color of eyes and hair from their parents, but mental features like the ability to memorize, reaction, and propensity for particular disorders. In my paper, I would like to concentrate on how exactly biology and surrounding environment influence human mental development on the example of one process (learning and memory) and one disorder (depression) in order to prove this correlation. 

First, I want to recall what learning and memory are. Learning is the process of gaining new knowledge and skills necessary for further survival and self-actualization. Memory is the ability to obtain, save, and retrieve information. One of the popular approaches to interpreting learning and memory is associated with expounding neurobiological correlates of perceptual and motor inclinations. Such opportunities as thinking, feeling, learning and memory, and other patterns behavior completely depend on human brain capacity. 

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Memory is usually defined as a piece of information we retrieve and memorize due to some environmental events and experience. It all depends on the type of memory: declarative and procedural. Declarative is something our consciousness can reach. Procedural memory requires some basic skills to be obtained before starting to function. Learning and memory are closely tied as successful learning is usually a result of good memory in combination with other brain functions. 

But the way individual remembers certain facts depends on the range of biological factors and how available necessary resources are in terms of the suggested environment. Nutrition is one of such factors. It serves as a fuel for our body and brain. Brain activity requires no less nutrition than physical one. It is stated that 25% of all energy human spend per day goes to its brains. During childhood, this level sometimes achieves 65%! Caffeine, for instance, stimulates not only brain activity, but our speed and cheerfulness. It minimizes fatigue. Thus, it creates an indirect effect on learning. 

As brain controls our movements too, memory, learning, and physical education are interrelated. Sports ensure the release of critical substances that are useful for the brain activity. These elements support human ability to learn and recognize new information. After all, it develops the general reaction and speed. “Heavy physical training of no less than half an hour leads to the better cognitive performance” (Kandel, p. 1026). Combined with a good sleep, physical activities perform a positive outcome on both memory and learning. Too little sleep is a serious obstacle on the way to remembering things. The lack of focus prevents a learner from absorbing new information. Besides, better sleep plays an important role in adapting to various environments as well. 

Repeating training sessions may help to recall things human has almost forgotten. School and higher educational environment has the greatest impact on learning and memory as it involves individual development, team work, physical education, repetitiveness, adaptation, correct nutrition, and other important ingredients, both biological and psychological. 

Numerous studies have shown how different environments and conditions improve or slow down the memory processes. I.e., “electroconvulsive shock treatment can produce retrograde amnesia with n intervals up to several hours” (Kopp, Bohdanecky, and Jarvik, 1966). So, there are some adverse biological factors that can influence memory: Alzheimers´ disease, brain damage , sleep deprivation. these factors cause memory loss, complete amnesia, inability to learn, and other negative consequences to human brain. As we can see, both processes and disorders are interconnected. For instance, “the long-term depression (a.k.a. LTD) in the cerebellum has been considered to be the cellular basis of motor learning” (Holden, p. 2023). 

Now, I will briefly analyze the impact of biology and environment on such disorder as depression. Genetic issue involves the principle that an individual may inherit biological abnormalities and mental disorders from his parents. Environmental factors include highly stressful and competitive situations; this type of irritants can seriously shape the chemistry of human brain and the way neurotransmitters operate. From any aspect, depression is a mental disorder that is distinctly biological. 

Among all biological irritants, so-called “serotonin can be a crucial determinant in the development of depression when delivered in incorrect amount” (Neumeister, p. 515). Through finding a way to stabilize the level of serotonin, it is possible to reduce the level of stress. 

A natural propensity to depression is characterized and supported by the medical treatment, high levels of long-term stress, and conditions that lead to natural changes, such as modification of hormones during pregnancy period. Add work and educational stress, social pressure, poor financial conditions, strained political situation, etc. Altogether, these environmental factors and biological nature of human impact learning and memorizing process as well as various mental disorders such as depression. 


Holden, C. (2004).  Mutant Gene Tied to Poor Serotonin Production and Depression . Science, 306(5704), 2023. 

Kandel, E. R. (1991). Principles of Neural Science , eds Kandel E R, Schwartz J 

H, Jessell T M(Elsevier, New York), pp pp.1009–1031. 

Kopp, R., Bohdanecky, Z., and Jarvik, M. E. (1966). Long Temporal Gradient and Retrograde Amnesia for a Well-Discriminated Stimulus . Science, 3, 1547-1549. 

Naumeister. (2004). Implications of Genetic Research on the Role of the Serotonin in Depression: Transporter . Psychopharmacology, 174(4), 512-524. 

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