Clarke Benson

Nature theories of Hereditary and Environment

Blog Post created by Clarke Benson on Dec 26, 2013

The catchy phrase nature versus nurture has been getting a lot of notice these days and refers to the role of environment and genetics in determining a development of a person. This study of human behavior can be traced back to the 13th century where researchers believed that people behaves a certain way because of their animal instincts or baser instincts determined by their genetics.

This nature essay will discuss the different theories of human development related to both the environment and hereditary.

Many biology research papers have been written on the merits of both the environment and hereditary as effectors of human personality and behavior. Nature or genetics gives us our innate abilities while nurture or environment is responsible for molding them according to our experiences with the environment.

The Theory of Nature or Heredity

Scientists have known that many physical traits like eye color and hair color and texture is determined by genetics transferred to us from our ancestors. However the theory of nature suggest that even concepts like IQ level, behavior, aggression and other personality traits are also determined by the information encoded in our genes.

  • There have been a lot of debates on whether personality is affected by our genes. Many believe that the root causes of social dysfunctional behavior like criminal tendencies are a result of genetic heredity.
  • A lot of studies have put forth conclusive evidences that most of our behavior and personality patterns are dictated by our genes.
  • Some scientists think that if genetic didn’t play a part in the development of personality, then fraternal twins, if brought up in the same environment would be alike. However this theory is inconclusive as twins who are reared apart still show a lot of tendencies that are similar. Hence this study gives vote to the theory of heredity.

The Theory of Nurture or Environment

The fore runners of the nurture theory believe that although genes might play a part in some things (physical appearance) for example, in the long run, there effect is insignificant as humans are more affected by their environment rather than any inherent traits.

  • John Watson was an American psychologist whose motto was that if he were provided with a dozen healthy infants, he can take any one of them and create his personality according to his own will regardless of his inherent genetic tendencies.
  • B F Skinner, best known for his classical conditioning experiments on pigeons believed that humans can be conditioned to behave a specific way, if they are subjected to a similar stimulus continuously.
  • If environment doesn’t play a role in human development than identical twins should be exactly alike in appearance as well as in personality. However this is never the case as some traits differ from one another in identical twins even.

The debate between whether genes or environment affects personality more has still not been settled conclusively; scientists do agree that even if genes do increase the chances of a person reflecting his ancestors’ personality, the gene does not compel him to follow that particular trait.