In the ongoing nature vs. nurture debate, a nativist is on the side of nature (opposing the empiricist).

Importantly especially in child development and in sensation and perception, nativists say that infants come into the world with pre-installed software. That is, babies are born with ability to intrerpret and perceive the world meaningfully.

For example, nativists believe we have spatial understanding at birth; the fact that an object's size will increase and decrease with respect to its distance is innate or at least is discovered quickly.

Rene Descartes and Immanuel Kant are important nativists.

Na"tiv*ist (?), n.

An advocate of nativism.

 

© Webster 1913.

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