Nature vs. Nurture

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Nature and nurture: Working Together to Form the Person

I want to take a look at a subject that has been at the (unspoken) heart of many topics, nature versus nurture. How we became who we are today and what made us that way. Nature versus nurture, the age-old battle. What truly shapes us into the beings that we become in our adult lives? Is it the constant care and looking after by parents and loved ones? Or does it come from the chromosomes that our forbearers have passed down to us? Or is it a combination of both working in unison to create our inward attitudes, beliefs, actions, and thoughts? The consensus based on a survey of many psychological studies on the matter appear to conclude that we are shaped mainly by nature, or our biology. The religious world (including the LDS church) appears to lean towards nurture, or how and where we are raised and what we are taught. I, on the contrary, believe that we are molded by a perfect combination of both. We have certain inborn traits that cannot be denied, but we also have to learn how to act and how to think and how to mold those traits to be productive citizens in a social world

Nature refers to the biological basis of traits and the scientific explanation of these traits. One recent study found that “Temperaments are often regarded as biologically based psychological tendencies with intrinsic paths of development….” < Journal of Personality and Social Psychology > In other words the basic personality of an individual is ascribed by that person’s biology and its develop is deterministic.“Evidence for the endogenous nature of traits is summarized from studies of behavior genetics, parent-child relations, personality structure, animal personality, and the longitudinal stability of individual differences. New evidence for intrinsic maturation is offered from analyses of NEO Five-Factor Inventory scores for men and women”. < Journal of Personality and Social Psychology >. The NEO Five Factor Inventory is battery used to measure the five domains of adult personality; these being neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness”. <Sigma Assessment Systems> These data support strong conceptual links to child temperament despite modest empirical associations. The intrinsic maturation of personality is complemented by the culturally conditioned development of characteristic adaptations that express personality; interventions in human development are best addressed to these.” Thus according to this study, we are shaped primarily by our genes. The way in which we are raised or by whom is merely complimentary and subsidiary to our genes which take the lead and shape us as a person.

By and large though these data fail to take into account that fact that we are taught so many things when we are young and we experience qualitative associations that come about from this learning. Where did we learn to talk? Did we just begin talking one day and where as the day before we just didn’t have the physical capability? The answer of course is negative. We know from studies and tests that babies learn how to speak by watching their parents or whomever they are around and mimicking them while trying to respond. Take Genie for example. Genie was a girl who was isolated by her parents at a young age and when found years later, after having almost no contact with humans, she was unable to speak or communicate with people. If traits are completely inborn and are derived solely from genes then some of the foundations of speech would have been expected to be present but they were not. < Fitzpatrick > It is this causal relationship that the nurture side of the argument is trying to fill.The nurture side professes that we are not just a collection of genes that activate themselves and make it so we can advance from simple existences to become the highly complex entities we are as we mature. We are so much more than...
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