Heredity vs Environment

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Heredity vs Environment

By | March 2011
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Developmental psychology is that which seeks to understand how people come to distinguish, perceive, and act within the world and how these processes vary throughout life as they age. The general focuses include intellectual, cognitive, neural, social, and/or moral development. As well as studying children, developmental psychologists also study aging and processes throughout the duration of life, especially at times when rapid change may occur (such as adolescence and old age). Many psychology researchers are in agreement that heredity and environment both contribute significantly to the development of various human traits. However, researchers may be undecided on the extent to which heredity and environment combined, contribute to the development of a particular dimension and disagree on how various factors could affect each other to make a certain human characteristic (Douglas Wahlstein). Five broad dimensions of personality which have been scientifically discovered to identify human personality are known as the ‘Big Five’ factors. The five factors (proposed by Lewis Goldberg) consist of openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. They are each known as in-depth and complex traits commonly perceived in human beings, but exactly how much are these traits influenced by heredity and/or by environment? It could depend on an individual’s lifestyle at home, their family and surroundings, the idea that their traits were developed through genetics, or that it could be a mixture of both.

A trait is a notable feature or quality in a person and each person has a different combination of traits that makes them unique. Traits are sometimes passed from generation to generation, meaning people inherit traits from their parents, and then pass those traits onto their own children. Non-genetic (environmental) influences in people’s lives are just as important in shaping traits, and can sometimes even change them. An environmental trait is...