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The Nature vs Nurture Debate

Have you ever wondered what about nature vs nurture? Do you think about which of your personality traits you were born with (nature) and which ones developed as a result of the people and experiences in your life (nurture)?

This nature vs nurture debate is not new but it remains interesting. Historically, some scientists believed that nurture was more important to developing personality traits than nature. However, the modern discussion seems to recognize that both play a very important role in the development of human personality.

How Do We Know How Nature vs Nurture Effects Personality?

One of the best ways scientists have been able to study this question is through twin and adoption studies. These studies usually focus on identical twins who are brought up together and those who are put up for adoption and raised by different families in different schools and different environments. Some studies also focus on identical twins who are brought up in the same household compared to fraternal twins who are brought up in the same household.

The Current research seems to conclude that both nature and nurture contribute to openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and adult IQ. However, certain traits to do seem to be predominately genetic (nature) and some seem to be predominately environmental (nurture). Examples of traits that seem to be most dependent on nature include blood type and eye color. Examples of traits that seem to be most dependent on nurture include language and religion. Traits that fall in the middle include weight and skin color.

Historical Problems in the Nature vs Nurture Argument

In the 19th century, the nature vs nurture argument was used to promote and justify the theory of racism. It was used to justify the theory that the Caucasian race was supreme. This argument has attacked during the 20th century and has no place in the 21st century. It is incorrect, misleading and fundamentally wrong.

A good use of the nature vs nurture comparison would be to see how each personality trait could be best developed as a combination of the two factors. Perhaps nature defines the way in which we learn and therefore that skill could be nurtured as we develop. Perhaps nature defines the way in which we gain weight and that knowledge could lead us to a healthier diet and ultimately a healthier body.

These are just examples of the many useful reasons for continuing the nature vs nurture debate into the 21st century. With more study and a greater understanding of how human traits are developed, we may be able to nurture our natural abilities in order to grow as human beings.

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