Nature vs. Nurture: How Does a Person Develop Their Personalities?

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Nature vs. Nurture: How Does a Person Develop Their Personalities?

Different people, different personalities / Photo Credit via Maxpixel


Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Studying the person’s personality traits focuses on two broad areas: one is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability, while the other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole. Although there is no generally agreed upon definition of personality, most theories focus on motivation and psychological interactions with one’s environment. Trait-based personality theories, such as those defined by Raymond Cattell, are personality traits that predict a person’s behavior.

On the other hand, the nature versus nurture debate within psychology is concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behavior are a product of either inherited or acquired characteristics. Simply Psychology defined nature as to how people think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors, while nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception like the product of exposure, experience, and learning on an individual. Scientists have been trying to decode the answer behind the question of how a person’s personality traits are originated. Most of them believe that certain physical characteristics are biologically determined by genetic inheritance.

Also, their belief that the person’s personality is defined by how their genes are modified stems with the fact that most of an individual’s body characteristic such as color of eyes, straight or curly hair, pigmentation of the skin, height, weight, hair loss, life expectancy, and vulnerability to specific illnesses are positively correlated between genetically individuals. Meanwhile, in an article published in The Guardian, it stated that Robert Plomin, an American psychologist and geneticist, believed that Sigmund Freud have misled the society into thinking that an individual’s personality trait is defined on how the parents treated their children, but Plomin explained that personality traits are inherited biologically from the parents.

Different people have their own ways on how they could develop their personality / Photo Credit via Pxhere


The effects of nature in a person’s well-being

On the website Good Therapy, they explained that one of the important factors in the development of the person’s mental health condition is nature. However, nature could also have a negative effect on the person’s mental state and will make them acquire some mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar, and major depression. Experts believe that mental health conditions are likely to develop when there is a family history of the condition, but eventhough it is important to know that the person’s genetic factors should be taken into consideration on their personality trait, they should also consider that it is not entirely genetic.  

People who have an extreme opinion on heredity are known as nativist. They believe that the characteristics of the human species as a whole are a product of evolution and that individual differences are because of the person’s unique genetic code. Nativists also argue that maturation, or the process in which characteristics and differences emerge later in life, governs the emergence of attachment in infancy, language acquisition, and even cognitive development as a whole. Moreover, nature can be considered as the factor that defines the person’s certain physical characteristic that will create an outline for the innate abilities and potentials that a person possess.



Nurture and upbringing: How it shapes an individual

Each person is different and their differences are made because of their culture, family background, gender preferences, belief, and religion. Aside from that, each person experience different kind of upbringing which could shape them into an individual who is different from one person. Even siblings who are living in the same house could be different even though they are both taken cared of by the same set of parents. On the website Psychologenie, it defined nurture as the environmental factors and influences that include childhood experiences, upbringing, relationships with friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues who play a role in shaping the personality of an individual.



Very Well Mind also explained that people’s characteristics are tied to their environmental influences. The behavior of the individual could be determined based on how their parents raised them and how they disciplined them. Observation during childhood is one of the factors that support the fact that nurture affects the individual’s personality and behavior. A child could be courteous and kind if he/she observes from his/her parents that being kind and courteous is the right thing to do. On the other hand, a child could also act aggressively if he/she observes that the people around him/her are acting aggressively since he thinks that it is the right thing to do.

Psychological characteristics and behavioral differences that are believed to emerge from infancy to childhood are the results of learning. This is what empiricists or the environmentalists believe as opposed to what nativists believe that personality traits and behavior stems from the genetic engineering of an individual. Environmentalists believe that nurture governs the psychologically significant aspects of child development and the concept of maturation applies only to the biological.



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