Nature or Nurture
Every human being is unique. Were we destined to be the way we are, or have we been made this way through our environment and experiences? Psychology has long been debating the issue of Nature versus Nurture. Characteristics such as hair and eye color are generally recognized to be controlled by genetics. Those on the Nature side (Nativists) claim that genetics control much more, including personality and character. Nurture backers (empiricists) will argue that a person’s environment and experiences determine those traits. So is it possible to prove which side is right? The latest findings suggest that the debate may not be that simple.
In light of the new information, it is no longer an either one or the other debate. Psychology lecturer Saul Mecleod (2007) states,
“In practice hardly anyone today accepts either of the extreme positions. There are simply too many ‘facts’ on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with an “all or nothing” view. So instead of asking whether child development is down to nature or nurture the question has been reformulated as ‘How much?’”.
The study of Epigenetics, as explained by Racheal Rettner (2013) , “…Refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes ‘on’ or ‘off.’ These modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells ‘read’ genes.” Our genes can control how much our environment affects us, and our environment can have an effect on our genes. The balance between genetic and environmental influence is not exactly the same for everyone. Jonathan D. Rockoff (2013) wrote in the New York Times, “They are finding that sensitivity to the environment resides in the biology of the nervous system. And some people, because of their genetic makeup and life experiences, are more sensitive to outside influences than others.” People react differently to the same external stress. We have all witnessed varied responses to the inconvenience of being caught in a traffic jam, some people lay on the horn, others...