Sperm donors do not make fathers, nor does an egg donor a mother make. There has always been a large controversy over whether inherited genes or environmental influences affect our personality, development, behavior, intelligence and ability. This controversy is commonly referred to as the nature verses nurture conflict or as I like to refer to it as genetics or environment. Some people like my ex-husband believe that it is strictly genes that affect our ways of life, others like me believe that environmental factors affect us, and some people like my husband believe that both factors influence who we are. No matter which way you believe, scientists all over the world have been struggling for centuries deciding whether our personalities are born to us or made by the world around us.
How much of people’s behavior is due to their genetically determined nature (heredity), and how much is due to nurture, the influences of the physical and social environment in which a child is raised; is one of the major issues that psychologists address. For people like my ex-husband that believe heredity is the reason we are, I offer them behavioral genetics. Behavioral genetics studies the affects of heredity on behavior. These researchers are finding increasing evidence that cognitive abilities, personality traits, sexual orientation, and psychological disorders are determined to some extent by genetic factors (Feldman, R., 2008, p. 72). I do not deny that genetics to play a role in what makes a person who they are. I mean after all you do get DNA from two individuals when you are conceived.
I am around children seven days a week; every day I am amazed at how much children’s personalities are influenced by the environment they are in. My own two boys are two such products. Yes, one of my children has been diagnosed with ADHD and I will concede that it is a hereditary trait. However, I will say that any given time of the day I can close my eyes and listen to my children play or I can sit back and watch the two of them work with my husband and see how much his raising them has affected their personalities.
In the past several years, it has been discovered that there is a genetic component to every human trait or behavior. However, genetic influence on traits and behaviors are partially due to genetics account for on average half of the variation of most traits. Urie Bronfrenbrenner, who studies genetics, said, “It is not nature vs. nurture, but the interaction of nature and nurture that drives development.” (www.mentalhelp.net, Urie Bronfrenbrenner and Child Development, Angela Oswalt, MSW Updated: Oct 13th 2005). The longer this debate goes on the more researchers find balances between genetic and environmental influences for certain traits. I may react to an individual in a certain way because of a genetically influenced personality; we may...