How heredity and environment shap us

Topics: Nature versus nurture, Tabula rasa, Human nature Pages: 5 (1691 words) Published: December 4, 2013
How heredity and environment shape us

Why am I so cold? Despite that numerous evidence have shown that nature and nurture are both responsible for the development of our personality, the nature and nurture concepts still stir up a lot of controversy. It is more important to know not to focus on how each affects us independently, but rather how they both interact with one another to create the unique individuals that we are. We each have different experiences as to the amount of effectiveness nature or nurture has in shaping us. When it comes to my own personality, I know that it has been greatly affected by nurture.

The ancient nature vs. nurture controversy pertains to the discussion whether our personality is an aspect that is predetermined by our genes (the nature theory), or is it the environment, for example experiences and learning processes, that make us behave the way we do (the nurture theory). Evidence has proven that both nature and nurture affect our personality. We are born with certain abilities and traits and nurture takes these inborn tendencies to mold us as we experience life, learn new things and gradually mature. The question is now how much of our personality is influenced by genes and how much by the environment. It is an endless discussion that has been going on for years and yet might still rage on for many years to come.

Supporters of nature say that personality has been passed down through our genes from generation to generation. Children, for example, resemble their parents by their physical appearance (like the same eye color, double chin, or skin complexion) and also by their more abstract traits (such as intelligence, extroversion, or aggression), and are also automatically in the future more susceptible to the same diseases as their parents (such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus). Joseph Le Doux, an author and professor of neural science at the New York University Center for Neural Science, points out in his article “Nature vs. Nurture: the Pendulum Still Swings with Plenty of Momentum” that the importance of genes has been proven with animals as well, for example, the way animal breeders utilize a process called controlled mating to breed dogs to get a desired behavior (1). Dogs are supposedly hunters until domesticated from the grey wolves thousands of years ago. Many breeds have been created since then to accommodate humans as herders, to pull loads, for protection, to assist police with investigations, to aid handicapped individuals or just for companionship. These dogs have been bred under close supervision and with a great amount of care through several generations to get the desired behavior. Furthermore, in an article “Nature vs. Nurture? Please don’t ask,” Mark Henderson, a Science Editor of The Times, mentions an experiment involving identical and fraternal twins. Fraternal twins were used because they are on a genetic level the closest related to one another than regular siblings. Both kinds of twins share the same environment. The results show that the identical twins share the same characteristics while the fraternal twins show less similarity with each other. The reason for this is because identical twins share their entire DNA and the fraternal twins share only half (2-3). This experiment is another indication that personality is innate. An additional supporting argument is by Steven Pinker, an experimental psychologist, linguist, author and professor at Harvard College, who states in his book The Blank Slate that people are born with skills and aspects of personality that can only be the result of heredity, for example, the capability of children to learn a language so easily must have an innate connection (148). Children have the ability for easy language acquisition, because of the unique structure of the speak organs that we humans possess. They have the ability to learn to speak very quickly, being that they have a vocabulary of 2000 words at age 5, which...
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