Personality is one such field in psychology that I find very intriguing; analyzing, understanding and inferring someone's personality through tests and observations sounds not only interesting but also a very complex task to perform in the field of psychology. Traits are considered to be the bases on which personality is designated. Traits are the characteristics that are enduring and predisposed in nature and influence our behavior across many situations. The three major influences on the development of personality are:
Much of the studies done on this field involve twin studies and adoption studies as it is easier to check all the three factors in these two kind of situations. In twin studies and adoption studies researches found out that both genetics and environmental factors influences the development of a child's psychology.
Twin Studies: Monozygotic twins (maternal) are much more alike than dizygotic twins (fraternal) due to the shared DNAs and physical attributes. However as seen through studies conducted monozygotic twins who have the exact physical attributes do not have the same personality traits even when raised in the same environment. Another study conducted showed the "non-likeliness" of twins who were raised in different environments or were raised differently by the parents thus developing the associated traits through learning and experiences. This type of situation is applied in ABC's popular TV series The Lying Game. Emma and Sutton are maternal twins who were separated at birth, they look exactly alike with the same physical features and attributes but however their personalities vary incredibly. Sutton was adopted by a wealthy family as a baby and thus was given a lavish lifestyle with all the resources a child may wish to have. Thus she had excellent schooling, expensive accessories, and a personality that was nurtured in this rich background. While Emma was given in foster care, running from one home to another and living in poverty and destitution. Sutton is portrays the common high class family girl, spoiled, inconsiderate, "popular diva", mean and irresponsible. She has always been given what she has asked for thus making her incompetent to make a living on her own. However she is very shrewd, smart and callous and makes her way in finding their birth mother. Emma on the other hand is soft spoken, shy, innocent and kind-hearted girl. She cannot take risk like her twin sister and does not have the quality of manipulation like her sister. They can be regarded as complete opposites however complimenting to each other. Furthermore are the experiences of these two girls since childhood which may have caused the development of their personality traits. Sutton being reared in a home with all the necessities in life and being treated like a princess had developed the traits of being bold, getting what she wanted, and manipulating to accomplish her goals, because these were the tricks she had to learn. While Emma always on the run and living in dangerous neighborhoods, had developed a fear of authority and already being a shy girl also could be bold and manipulative as her lifestyle has been coded with being subjugated. Her kindness and considerateness towards others might be a result of her own suffering and thus her ability to understand other's pain.
Apart from these environmental factors, the role of genetics is also shown in this show through Emma's ability to draw incredibly well just like her biological mother. She is unaware of the heritance of this trait but through the TV series this is highlighted showing this dominant trait she had got from her biological mother.
Therefore twin studies and adoption studies are both applicable in this TV series, as the story of these two twins, Emma and Sutton unfolds. So what are your thoughts, does environment factor plays a key role in personality development? Or is genes the answer? Or are you like me, a believer that both these factors play a crucial role in development of personality.