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Nature Vs Nurture: Genes Vs Environment

1117 words - 4 pages

In trying to understand human behavior, professionals for centuries have looked at the nature vs. nurture theory. While it is known that the physical traits such of eye or hair color have to do with nature, some strongly believe that genes play a part in the way we behave such as in personality and intelligence and others believe that we behave a certain way solely due to our environment. Professor Jerome Kagan, from Harvard opened up a brand new world and offers a deeper understanding for the way we behave. He pointed out that two-year old Marjorie unlike other children her age started out shy, a tendency he believed she inherited and while it is true that Marjorie cannot change that she is a girl there are certain aspect of her make up that did change due to her environment.
Pediatric psychiatrist, Stanley Greenspan is a strong believer of both nature and nurture playing intricate parts but not independent of each other. Even though one affects the other the saying like father like son is not guaranteed to be true. But we must consider that it is highly possible for that inherited genes can be activated due to external influences. To pinpoint for instance what temperaments are inherited, scientist at Allegheny University, are hard at work and are looking closely at twins for answers. It is a hard and long process because each gene has to be singled out and look at in conjunction with the environment. Those with the dopamine-4 receptor gene are thrill seeker says Greenspan but they can be retrained to behavior otherwise. This is accomplished by giving alternative way of meeting their needs. It is clear to Professor Kagan when he studied 500 children for more than 17 years. He even got to the stage where he could detect signs of shyness in fetuses. His findings did not end there; he further stated that with the right instructions such as encouragement and exposure these children could become sociable and outgoing. His research also showed that 80 percent of previously shy children was able to conquer their shyness.
Later on in life will the new programming be in vain is the real question. There are no real data for humans yet but Stephen Suomi from the National Institute of child Health and Human Development has good news. He studied monkeys with the same tendency to shyness as that found in humans and discovered that given the right circumstances and instructions, a shy monkey not only will overcome shyness long-term but can even become a leader. The battle is far from over because her children are in danger if not trained also. Parents are not left without options. They can encourage the behavior they want to draw out. Non smiling babies should be smiled at constantly even in cases where the reason for not smiling is physical says Greenspan.
Too much emphasis is placed on early childhood say Michael Lewis, director of the institute for the study of Child Develop-merit. He went on to say that there are no guarantees...

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