Research indicates that the characteristics we are born with have much more influence on our personality and development than any experiences we may have in our life. Which do you consider to be the major influence?
Nature versus nurture debate has been around for ages and has been supported well by both sides. Nature, referring to heredity, and the nurture, referring to the environment, are two very reasonable explanations to why we are the people we are today. It would be worthwhile to look at both sides of the issue before forming an opinion.
Nature is believed to be what determines our personalities, looks, and other things because it’s all genetically passed down. It has been concluded that a newborn doesn’t have a blank slate of personality, but does have a set of inherited traits. Identical twins reared apart are far more similar in personality than randomly selected pairs of people. Likewise, identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins. Also, biological siblings are more similar in personality than adopted siblings. Each observation suggests that personality is heritable to a certain extent.
The other side of the debate says that nurture is the cause to our behavior as well as characteristics. Even though genes are what give us that certain spunk to our personality, the environment has the power to alter it and make us into the exact opposite. Even the way that certain children are brought up can change how they turn out. If environment didn’t play a part in determining an individual’s traits and behaviors, then identical twins should, theoretically, be exactly the same in all respects, even if reared apart. But a number of studies show that they are never exactly alike, even though they are remarkably similar in most respects.
The more we delve into the topic, the more the evidence reveals that the answer is “BOTH”. Genes are the foundation of who we are, but the nurture we receive in our lives is what we finally turn out to be. Even the best of inborn talents can go unrecognized if not given proper training and education. But it would seem that “Nurture complements Nature and that Nature’s gift of rich human potential is realized through socialization and education.
In conclusion, I believe that, although both nature and nurture play a role in human personality and development, the influence of our upbringing and life experiences gets an edge over the genetic influences.