Controversial Paper

1962 words - 8 pages

Environment and Genes Influencing BehaviorEnvironment and Genes Influencing BehaviorRobert PlominPennsylvania State UniversityAuthor NoteRobert Plomin, Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State UniversityRobert Plomin is now at Social Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry, Kings CollegeCorrespondence concerning this article should be addressed to Robert Plomin, Social Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry, Kings College, London, United Kingdom, SE5 8AF.Contact: robert.plomin@kcl.ac.ukWhat defines our personality and behavior? Is it our genetic makeup or is it the cultural environment we live in? Arguments about these questions fuel the debated nature versus nurture dispute of lifespan development. Nature is described as something created as a result of the inherited predetermined genetic information: it is highly influential on our traits, abilities, and capabilities (Feldman, R., 2011). For instance, the characteristics that are predisposed by nature are eye color and inherited disorders. Nurture is defined as by the way the environment defines and shapes our behavior (Feldman, R., 2011). These impacts may be biological, social, and cultural, religion, availability of food, or bullying. As indicated earlier, the impact these two factors have on lifespan development is a controversial debate: the goals of this paper are to examine both of these factors using research, opinion, and empirical studies, and to draw a conclusion on the topic at hand.Stanford University professors of biology Paul Ehrlich and Marcus Feldman argue that our environment mostly has an influence on behavior and they believe that there are some parts of genetics that cannot explain human behavior. (Feldman, M. and Erhlich, 2011). They use three main objectives to explain their reasoning:First, Erhlich and Feldman argue that since gender differences are constantly known as having a genetic foundation, we see that there has been a significant difference in what is considered "normal" behavior for each gender. These "genetic"-based traits often turn out to be the role of the historical environment (Feldman, M. and Erhlich, 2011). An example of this, suggested by the philosopher Elliot Sober, is that in the 18th century it would be assumed that the gene for knitting productivity would be on the male Y chromosome, but by the 19th century that gene would move to the female X chromosome (Feldman, M. and Erhlich, 2011).Second, Erhlich and Feldman discuss that there are less genes to explain all of the involvement in human development. The human genome-which counts for the whole genetic coding of a human being-is only three times as large as a fruit fly (Feldman, M. and Erhlich, 2011). Genes in the genome are strongly linked with alleles and with each other and since there are so few, they have multiple jobs. A single change in a small part of a gene could have a domino effect and can have an impact on multiple other genes (Feldman, M. and Erhlich, 2011). For example, behavior is...

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