Personality: Nature or Nurture?


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There are so many people in the world and everyone seems to be acting in different ways, believing that the way they act is the right way to act.  It's so interesting how differently we all are, but what causes this?  What shapes us into the people we are and makes us all react so differently in certain situations- nature or nurture?  Of course the majority's assumption is nurture, we have always learned in psychology the major roles parenting plays on the foundation of a child's personality.  "We learn everything from our parents".  Everything?  Don't be so sure.  All of those traits that make you so similar to your mom may not only be from your close relationship, but the genes you share.

Thumbnail image for gene.jpg

(picture from:http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/genes-and-obesity/)

In the New York Times, a study done on "350 twins" proves that parenting does not have as much of an effect on children as many have believed in the past and a lot of major traits are past down through our genes.  They even stated from the study that, "more than half the variation was found to be due to heredity, leaving less than half determined by influence of parents, home environment and other experiences in life." 

They even included twins that were raised in completely different homes and had never met.  They were also, surprisingly, more alike than the twins in the study that had grown up in the same house together with the same family.  So, what's the argument? 

Although this study proves some hard facts, they are not trying to state that nurture has absolutely nothing to do with the development of our kids; that would be almost impossible to believe.  But, it can help trigger or hide some genes more or less. This is what Daniel Goleman said in his article about the study:

"Even though the findings point to the strong influence of heredity, the family still shapes the broad suggestion of personality offered by heredity; for example, a family might tend to make an innately timid child either more timid or less so.  But the inference from this study is that the family would be unlikely to make the child brave."

 

Overall, what I get out of this is that people should reconsider calling themselves bad parents the second their kids are bad and they're doing everything a good parent would do to stop any bad behavior.  The study found that some of the strongest genetic traits were: "leadership, ambition, a sense of well-being, fear, risk-seeking, neuroticism (vulnerable to stress), impulsiveness and caution."

There is a lot more to our genetic makeup than the average person knows.  If you want to read more into this topic I got all of my information from here!

1 Comment

Wow, how interesting I never knew that someone's personality can be affected by specific genes that they possess in their DNA. I always thought that it was your environment that affected your personality, I guess I was wrong. In case your curious this article explains how genes affect us, check it out! http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-gene-factor/201111/is-your-personality-in-your-genes

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