How Much is Behavior Based on Nature Versus Nurture?

Nature versus nurture: the great debate. What is truly to blame for all of the criminals out there, or how about the geniuses? Were all the Hitlers, Einsteins, and Beyonces of the world born into their fate, or was it the environment in which they grew up that made them who they are? The honest truth is, no one really knows.

There have been countless studies supporting both sides of the issue. Many of these such studies are performed on twins, who are genetically identical.  If the twins were to have relatively similar personalities, this would support the theory that a person’s traits are based upon his genetics, or nature. Evidence of genetically linked emotional and mental traits has already been found in many forms. For an example, some studies show that a naturally higher level of testosterone in males can lead to more aggressive behavior, and increase the likelihood that he may commit a violent crime. The countless evidence to support this theory makes it a very plausible and viable one.

On the other hand, any of you that know a pair of identical twins know that genetically identical people can be very different from one another. While they may definitely share many of the same qualities, their interests or attitudes may vary greatly from each other. This is evidence that supports the “nature” argument. The argument is especially supported in identical twins that were raised in different households or environments. If the twins are different in any way, then this must be accounted for by their upbringing, not by their genetics. However, this viewpoint as well as the “nature” viewpoint are both on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. There is still another perspective on the nature versus nurture debate.

I would like to present a middle-ground approach to this thoroughly debated issue. Consider this proposal: “Nature loads the gun, but nurture pulls the trigger.” In this scenario, a person’s nature or genetics would perhaps predispose him to a specific trait, but this would not necessarily be expressed unless exposed to the “right” environment. For example, if alcoholism were to run in a person’s family both maternally and paternally, he might be naturally predisposed to an addictive personality. However, this does not necessarily determine that he will become an alcoholic later in life. If raised in a stable environment and without any societal or familial pressures to trigger the predisposition, the person may very well be entirely capable of never being dependent upon alcohol. However, if raised in an emotionally unstable environment or in an environment in which friends/family abused alcohol, the person may be more inclined to act upon his predisposition, or “nature.” This viewpoint is the one that I personally hold, because I feel that both a person’s nature and a person’s nurture contribute to who he is.

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3 thoughts on “How Much is Behavior Based on Nature Versus Nurture?

  1. I really liked the meme, did you make that yourself? Doge meme is my favorite one, good article too, good points and middle ground !

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