Are we born pre-programmed or are do we start as a blank slate? This is the question that Steven Pinker looks at in his book "The Blank Slate". The Blank Slate theory of Pinker's states that the human mind is an empty vessel with nothing in it but a few basic instincts at birth.
This simplification of the mind has raised a lot of controversy over the years. The idea of the blank slate went against the age old theory of divine right of the king or that people are inherently better than other people. Pinker argues that a person's mind and demeanor are shaped by their environment and experiences rather than a pre-programmed mind. This idea of Pinker's can apply to anything from violent tendencies to the level of intelligence in a person.
There are a lot of people that argue against Pinker's theory of the Blank Slate, saying that much of the processes in the mind are hereditary and unchangeable. This way of thinking has been studied for many years in twin studies. The twin studies can be used for many different things from intelligence studies to behavioral studies, but the ultimate goal of these is to find out whether the differences are caused by the environment or inherited at berth.
With no clear cut answer in the field of psychology, the answer to are we a blank slate may never be answered. So this I leave up to you, are we inherently different or is it the world around us that makes who we are?