The argument of nature versus nurture is about whether or not an individual’s physical and behavioral traits are innate or if it is just based on personal experience. It is known that certain physical characteristics, such as eye and hair color, the pigment of skin and eye sight, are all determined by genetics (“Conditions”). It is still unclear whether or not if personality and mental abilities are already “preprogrammed” into us before we’re born. It is almost impossible to prove one way or another since there are too many facts supporting both sides but through the study of twins we’re able to prove that nature has a greater impact on a child’s development than nurture and one of the best ways to study this is by looking at twins.
Nature versus nurture has been a topic of controversy for decades due fact that most of the child’s basic characteristics, such as mental capacity and personality cannot be observed at birth. The first belief is that everyone’s personality is genetically passed down from their parents. This belief is referred to as “nature” because everything is already preprogrammed into a child’s brain by the time he or she is born. The other argument is “nurture”, also known as “tabula rasa” (Nature versus Nurture). This belief is that everyone’s personality is developed from the people they grow up around, so the behavioral similarities between parents and their children emerge throughout childhood from learning experiences alongside their parents. Between these two views, nurture has to have the bigger effect on the way a child develops.
The question of nature versus nurture was first asked by Francis Galton in the late 19th century (McLeod). He was convinced that intellectual abilities were inherited and his ideas have popped up time and time again to inspire many different kinds of research, especially twin and adoption studies.
The best way to study the difference between nature and nurture is to examine identical twins. Identical twins share the same genes, so if their environment changes, doctors can look for positive correlations in the children’s personality and IQ. This is a good idea, but the study is difficult since parents aren’t willing to give up one of their twins, in order to study how they develop in different environments. Lawrence Wright, a child psychologist and author of Twins, a book about twin studies says, “Since the beginning of science, twins have offered a unique opportunity to study what extent nature versus nurture influences the way we develop, the people that we turn out to be” (Richman). One of the greatest cases of these studies is Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein. They were twin sisters that were given up at birth and adopted but different families but they still managed to be eerily similar lives (“A unique Look…”). They were both in charge of editing their high school newspapers, studied film in college and eventually became...