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Nature Versus Nurture: Which Determines Personality?

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Essay title: Nature Versus Nurture: Which Determines Personality?

Since the beginning of time the same question has been pondered over and over. Why are we the way we are? Is personality determined by heredity (or nature) or by the environment in which a person was raised (or nurtured)? The answer is both. Psychologists have struggled for years attempting to prove one side or the other; however, simply put, both matter. A person’s genetic framework is important and a person’s day-to-day culture is important. According to Myers (2004), the real question to consider is how nature and nurture both work together to shape human behavior (p. 99).

Scientists have known for years and it is therefore accepted as factual that genes determine physical features such as eye and hair color for example. The debate then occurs when nature theorists are now testing the fact that genes have a direct correlation with non-physical traits such as aptitude, aggression, humor, and personality as well. Due to many advances in molecular biology, scientists have exposed more significant evidence that shows how genetic constituents relate to personality (“Were you born that way?”, n. d.). In fact, according to George Colt, parents have no more influence on some aspects of their newborns than they had on their child’s physical elements such has hair and eye color (n. d.). This can also be attributed to why temperamental differences sometimes evolve with parents and adopted children.

On the other hand, nurture theorists do not hold the same position. Nurture theorists do not dispute the fact that genetic predispositions do exist, they simply say genes do not matter when determining behavioral patterns (“Nature vs. Nurture,” n. d.). An example of this comes from B.F. Skinner’s A Brief Survey of Operant Behavior. Skinner states that we acquire our behavior from “tak[ing] advice, heed[ing] warnings, observ[ing] rules, and obey[ing] laws.” Behavior patterns are too multifaceted to have naturally developed without help from others (n. d.). Without this human contact and the opportunity to learn, humans would not have the knowledge and awareness necessary to survive in the world. Humans would not be able to fully understand their culture.

Another important aspect to consider when discussing the nurture theory is that if the environment in which identical twins are reared has no effect on their behavioral characteristics, then theoretically they should be exactly the same in all respects; even if the twins grew up separated from one another. However, many tests have been completed that prove identical twins are never exactly alike. Take for example an article

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