Nature Versus Nurture Which Determines Personality Essays

Nature And Nurture In Personality And Behaviour Development

IntroductionSince the first attempt to study nature and nurture in the development of personality and behavioural traits over a century ago, the question that has divided developmental psychologist is whether nature or nurture has the greater bearing (Plomin, 2002). Those with the stance of genes having the predominant influence on development are the naturists, and those opposing them, the nurturists, argue that the surrounding environment during rearing has the significant impact (Ridley, 2003). Using recent and foundation studies done into genetics and environmental impacts on development, this essay will look at both sides of this issue in order to discover which has the strongest case. It is hypothesised that, within the ongoing nature versus nurture debate, the dominant influence on development and behaviour is the surrounding environment during rearing.


BackgroundIn attempting to understand the intricacies of this issue it is useful to go back to its roots. The idea that people differ in their personality and temperament goes back at least to the time of Galen in the 2nd Century (Rutter, 2006). Galen proposed temperamental traits into sub-divisions of four different qualities – melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric (Rutter, 2006). Galen believed that these inborn humours not only determined a person’s behavioural and emotional tendencies but he used them also to refer to their bodily dispositions and susceptibility to certain diseases. While Galen’s theory did not survive him the concept of psychological states being biologically based was prominent until the emergence of Freud’s Psychoanalytical theory and Pavlov’s Behaviourism theory (Rutter, 2006). With these two renowned figures came a surge of support in the overwhelming importance of a person’s environment throughout their development (Rutter, 2006). However, while there are those who are adamant that it’s either nature or nurture, in the past fifty years there has been acceptance from many on either side that both nature and nurture play an important role in personality and behavioural development (Plomin, 2002).


DiscussionBehavioural geneticists, the naturists, use family, twin and adoption studies as a basis for their argument (Lerner, Bearer & Garcia Coll, 2004). Plomin (2000), who is a significant contributor to studies in behavioural genetics, provides this definition:Behavioural genetics is the genetic study of behaviour, which includes quantative genetics (twin and adoption studies) as well as molecular genetics (DNA studies) of human and animal behaviour broadly defined to include responses of the organism from responses measured in the brain such as functional neuroimaging to self-report questionnaires” (Lerner, Bearer & Garcia Coll, 2004, p 2)One of the first twin studies was conducted by Bouchard in 1979 when he found a set of monozygote twins, babies from an egg that splits into two, separated at a few weeks old who had many physiological...

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Essay on Nature vs Nurture: Genetics vs Environment

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Do you know how much your personality is the result of your genetic makeup, and how much is the result of the environment? The "nature-nurture" question is one of the oldest issues in psychology. This question is applicable to identical twins. They are the same age, same-sex, have the same genes, live in the same house, share same stuff, given identical presents, so in other words, they share the same environment from birth. The researcher tends to know if identical twins really share the same personality.

In Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, each person is an integrated whole, striving to future goals, and attempting to find meaning in life while working harmoniously with others. There are four areas of individual psychology, the…show more content…

There are levels or structure of the psyche (mind) and one of it is the Archetype, the primeval content of racial unconscious consisting of inherited ideas and predispositions, and the universal images, thoughts, ideas, or symbols that contain a large element of emotion. There are five main archetypes, and one of them is the persona. It the mask adopted by the person in response to the demands of social convention and tradition and it is the role that a person acted. Carl Jung considered many psychological types that emerge from the union of two (2) basic attitudes, the introversion and extraversion. Introversion is the orientation of the psychic energy inward while the extraversion is the tendency to direct the personality outward.

The research is also associated with the theory of Albert Bandura, the Social Cognitive Theory, in which postulates that the portion of an individual's knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. Based in this theory, behavior is the product of continuous interaction of an individual to his environment. People respond to environmental events, and certainly they often learn characteristic behaviors as the result of rewards and punishments.
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