Nature vs Nurture: Who are you?


This article takes a look into the nature versus nurture debate through presenting information from various studies. According to the info presented in this article I believe that it is a combination of the two, being nature and nurture, that make up a person.

Many things about us are determined before we are even born. The color of your eyes, the shape of your face, and the body type you will have and live with during your lifetime. These characteristics, however, are generally physical and easier to trace back to their parent. Scientists debating the nature hypothesis want to take things to a different level and insist that traits such as intelligence, aggression, personality, and even sexual orientation are determinable by someone's genetic makeup.

While difficult to quantify, according to this article studies have shown that fraternal twins show great characteristic similarities when raised apart from each other. From this discovery, we can deduce that, without similar genes, when raised apart these fraternal twins would be completely different. This would also mean that when raised together, they develop nearly identical characteristics. This study was also done in trials using identical twins, establishing the idea that genetically similar individuals develop closely related traits regardless of their environment.

Scientists supporting the nurture hypothesis suggest otherwise, stating that these genetic similarities can produce similar traits but the environment of an organism's upbringing can change those traits. One such study, recorded in New Scientist, showed that humor is a trait learned from one's environment (family, culture, religion, etc) and is not necessarily determined by genes.

Similar to the nature hypothesis, the nurture hypothesis is not easily quantified either. However, we can look at studies done with identical twins. According to genetics these individuals are exactly the same and, when raised apart, they should develop exactly the same characteristics. Studies show otherwise, that genes can have influential power over what you are but your environment ultimately determines who you become.

Overall, in my opinion it must be a combination of the two. For example, consider the genetic makeup of a great athlete. Tall, muscular body type, fast metabolism, all of which are determined by genetics. However, now consider an environment that is not conducive to athleticism. Junk food, exercise not promoted by the family, etc. If this person were to not exercise and eat poorly they would never have the ability to use their superior genes to excel in athletics. On the other hand, someone who does not have these genes who grows up in a similar household won't be able to excel in athletics either. The difference there is that they never had a chance, because they didn't have the genetic makeup to do so. This shows that it must be a combination of the two, nature and nurture, that make a person who they are.

The following video shows a study of the nature hypothesis being conducted using two identical twins.


I would have to agree that a person's makeup is based upon a combination of nature and nurture, although I believe nature is the underlying factor that determines who you are and nurture either accentuates or de-accentuates you're genetic traits. For example, nature could have given me a dark complexion, but if I live in northern Canada where I'm bundled up all year protected from the sun's rays, my skin will most likely be much more fair than what nature gave me. Same goes for if I live in a tropical climate and I was much darker than what nature intended. Also, cool video, interesting how critical thinking skills, like math and reading, showed up in identical areas of their brains!

I agree with your statements, specially when you say it must be a combination of the two. One's potential cannot be reached without having been influenced by the combination of both nurture and nature.

I also agree with your conclusion that nature and nurture play a role in human development. The basic punnett square we all used in biology class is fundamental for showing that genes are the blue print for physical traits such as hair color and ear shape and that the characteristics of several generations can be predicted as a result. However, I am a strong believer that your family environment, school environment, religion, and social group all influence your emotions, behavior, and personality. For instance, someone who grows up without alot of money but a supportive family most likely will have a greater appreciation of simple things that they do have and opportunity. On the other hand, someone who grows up with alot of money will most likely always want something more or feel entitled to more than what they have already.

Hi Gabril, I find your comments interesting. I'm taking a child psychology class and if we have to ask someone this question. Would you mind, could you please give your input on this please? Briefly describe one of your personal characteristics or abilities that you believe is primarily the result of nature and one that you believe is primarily the result of nurture.



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This page contains a single entry by janse152 published on February 5, 2012 11:14 PM.

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