Personality: Not What I Once Thought

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I used to think that personality was directly a product of one's experiences. Despite the fact that I took a biology course in high school, not once did the role of genetics in determining personality come up! Although the book clearly states that the role of genetics in personality is indirect, it is fascinating to me to think that my extroverted-ness or openness to new experiences is somehow related to my parents having those same tendencies. It's also a relief, seeing as i'm sure i will one day be a parent, knowing that babies come into this world with a predisposition to certain personality traits, meaning you can't screw your kids up too much! Also, I have always been a firm believer in the myths about birth order and having a "first born" vs. "second born" personality because I see a lot of those stereotypical tendencies in my sister and I. But the book has convinced me that it isn't true!

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It truly is fascinating to think about the origins of peoples' personality traits. I thought the chapter in our book did a good job at breaking it down; however, there is still a lot to learn in this department. For example, the claim that there is a "first born" and "second born" personality could exist but it’s more likely that the external factors (environmental) play the role of developing certain characteristics in personality such as a first born being more responsible because he/she grew up having to care for their younger siblings. On the other hand, the youngest child may develop a more rebellious personality because they were tied down by more rules set by the parents. These are just some scenarios I came up with and there are many more that could explain why children act differently in respect to the order they were born. I am not sure if Psychology will ever be able to give exact answers to this debate, or any other subject in personality for that matter, due to the multi variable world that we live in.

I thought that this was an interesting topic in the book too, although I'm not really convinced. I'm really more on the nurture side of this debate. When I was younger, before my mother got remarried, even before my parents were divorced, I was talkative, but only to people that I knew, very shy, and always worried about what other people thought of me. Since my mother got remarried, I am much more open to new people and experiences, I don't care at all what others think of me, and while I still try to please those around me, I worry about myself first. I am extremely sarcastic, just like my stepdad, and I have a hard time believing that these traits can be genetic. I believe that I am this way more because of being around him and learning from him than from being born of my mother and father.

Thinking about it more, I agree how interesting this subject can be. I always hear the term 'you are exactly like your dad' and if I think about it, he is also exactly like is dad, as am I. I think to a point that it does have to deal with society and the spot, if you will, that you are put in. For example with your best friends from high school, I'm sure they have a large influence on the type of personality you have due to proximity and wanting to be close with them so you may have changed some things to fit their needs. But let's say that you ended up moving to a different state, that would mean that there is not one identical group of friends compared to the ones that you had at home, and would then again most likely change your personality to fit in. But I defiantly see so much of myself in my father.

I was never aware of all of the influences on personality until taking this class. My sister and I both exhibit the "first-born", "second-born" traits, but we both have some personality traits that my parents have. But she is more like my mom and I am more like my dad. This brings up the whole nature-vs-nurture argument. Maybe the base of your personality is genetic, but I think your environment and experiences also play a large role.

I do find it facsinating that genetics is a major part of what makes us who we are and how we act. I've always thought genetics had a lot to do with our personality though because I can see myself in my parents so much, or I should say I can see a lot of differing traits in both of them that I see in myself now. I've always viewed my dad as an older version of me and about as mature ha. But for real I find it really cool how genetics control a lot of who you are and how you act.

I too think the sibling order is odd because my younger brother and I had that on a daily basis when we were younger. About the genetic traits for personality, I would like to think that we get some of our personality traits from our parents because we were around them for so much growing up. It would be interesting to see a study done on adopted children to see if their personality was more like their adopted parents or biological parents because I think you would find them to be more like the adopted parents.

The first-born, last-born characteristics always interested me. In my family it's just me and my brother. I'm more of a leader; he's more spoiled and lost. I would be very interested in learning more about how the number of kids in your family would affect your personality. Hopefully in the future they will come up with a scientific way to isolate that factor and come to a conclusion. It's scary to think that genetics influences personality- especially when you don't like the personality traits you see in your parents.

I think personality is a very interesting subject to think about. It's weird to think about how many common personality traits there are, but how each individual is so different. It is interesting that personality traits are not genetic, but how many common traits we share with our close family members and friends. It is weird to think that personality traits aren't genetic when someone has many similar personality traits with a parent, but I think we connect with and get along with people that share similar traits as us. I also think it is interesting how you can pretty much decide which personality traits you want to have. If you have a parents that has a certain personality trait that you do not like, you will do everything you can to not be like them.

Although I believe genetics impacts personality, it's hard to see in my own life. (Though I could just be in denial, most people are when it comes to admitting they are like their parents) I mean I am fairly reserved and keep to myself, whereas my mother will say whatever comes to her mind without and consideration. I think it would be really cool if you had found some information on studies that showed what sort of an impact genetics actually have on personality.

I think that personality is such a dynamic piece of psychology. There are so many ways to look at it. I have noticed since I am getting older that I do seem to have a lot of my mom's personality but I do have some major things that are like my dad. While my brother and I are so opposite. I never really thought about why that would be until now. Thanks to heredity my personality I have noticed means something different to me.

I totally think the point you made about our children coming into the world with pre-dispositional traits is exactly what I found extremely fascinating because it totally went against what I believed, and was taught. I had no idea personality was shaped so much by our genes, I thought it had to be from our environment. I suppose that I always had a Freudian theory of personality, thinking that who we are depends greatly on what we experience as children. However, I was so pleasantly surprised, as well, to realize that I didn't have to worry about accidentally messing my future kids up one day because as the book said, personality, as an adult is greatly determined by genetics and not so much environment. This is good to hear, and also great for those who have undergone childhood tragedies. Everyone has the resilience to overcome a negative childhood.

I could not agee more with your insights regarding to the concept of personality tratis. Though I'm different from my parents in many aspects before college when I was living with them, studying abroad on my own I gradually realized how much we have in common with. I switched my major from communication to physiology and prepared the application for dental schools. Not so sure if it is the reason that I grew up in a family of doctors, it was true that being someone in healthcare profession never came to me before I started to explore the world on my own and to find my identity, I blieve my future will further prove it.

Although genes are a very important aspect of personality we have to be careful of the fundamental attribution error. We can't always say that a person is one way just because that is "the way they were born". We have to take into consideration the situation. So I have to disagree with your point about not being able to screw your kids up too much. If a parent believes that there is nothing they can do about their child's personality then there will probably be some problems in the future...

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This page contains a single entry by truck014 published on April 29, 2012 11:03 PM.

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