Nature vs. Nurture: it’s in the genes Essay

Is human development primarily the result of nature (biological forces) or nurture (environmental forces)?      The differences among men are due to differences in germ cells with which they were born (Wiggam, 1923, p. 42). This paper supports this theory because the author believes that one’s innate characteristics and personality are ingrained in the cells and sinews of one’s biological make-up.

            Explanation of the interaction of heredity and environment is not a simple matter. Hereditary factors operate from the moment of conception in determining the features of human growth and development. Our current understanding of human genetics makes it fairly clear that many human physical traits are inherited. We know that genetic factors are involved in the development of the human body from the time of conception. However, we do not fully understand the scientific mechanisms of the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in controlling human growth and development.

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Primarily, nature is more significant than nurture. The biological argument runs like this Proposition 1:  Each individual is born with genetically determined characteristic patterns of responding to the environment and to other people. Virtually every researcher who studies temperament shares the assumption that temperamental qualities are inborn and carried in the genes.  The idea here is not so very different from the notion of “inborn biases” or “constraint”. Antisocial personality disorder often arises from genetic. Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis (cited in Restak, 1988:282), Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, found that delinquent boys who later became murderers showed patterns of aggressive and sometimes violent behavior in childhood, as well as other factors: close relatives with psychotic  illness, severe parental abuse, major neurological impairments, and a history of head injury.

                Biological children of psychopathic parents more often exhibit a psychopathic syndrome than do offspring of non psychopathic parents.  Therefore, hormonal excretions that relate to psychopath may have a genetic link. The production of epinephrine (adrenaline) is severely limited in psychopaths.  This connects with the ever present problem of boredom faced by psychopaths. David Myers states that we can trace many of psychology’s current questions back through the history of human beings.  Myers explains how these early thinkers sought answers on how the mind works, and how the bodies relate to the minds. (Myers, 2004).

               Indeed, biological characteristics play a dominant role in the human behavior.  Yet, these two approaches can still complement each other, having their own value and advantages. Efforts must be geared towards the advantages of each and gain optimum results.


Clarke, A.M. Early experience. Myth and evidence. New York: Free Press.

Myers, D.(2004). Exploring Psychology sixth edition. Worth Publishers.

Parke, R.D.  Exploring family relationships with other with other social contexts

Hillsdale, NJ. ErlBaum. 1984

Wiggam, A.E. . The new Decalogue of science. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. 1923


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