Is a person’s development influenced primarily by genetic factors, or is it the individual’s environment that causes his or her behavior and character traits to change? This is the question that brought about the nature-nurture debate. On one hand, nature proponents maintain that an individual’s qualities and character traits are a result of genetic factors; simply put, the traits and behavior are inherited from the parents.
For instance, a child may acquire and inherit his or her parent’s physical aspects like height, eye color, and some behavior patterns. On the other hand, nurture proponents claim that environmental factors, such as the parents, siblings, relatives, schools, and the community where a person lives, shapes his or her characteristics and behavior (Powell, 2006). Some experiments and researches were conducted to determine whether nature or nurture really influences a person’s development.
One study states that an estimate of 70% a person’s intelligence is inherited or determined by the genes. In addition, in a study was conducted involving a set of twins who grew up separately and got the chance to meet after almost forty years, the researchers observed that the both shared common traits and personality. Hence, these studies suggest that human nature plays a vital role in the development of an individual (Friendly Teachers, 2005).
Nonetheless, there are also evidences that show the extent of influence of nurture on a person’s qualities and behavior. For instance, in a study about a boy who almost grew up in a forest and found running with wolves, he was brought back into the society and was observed to have a lot of difficulties in coping and acting as a normal human being. Thus, this study shows that some characteristic or personality traits can be learned in the environment or socially (Friendly Teachers, 2005).
Moreover, personal experience per se contours people’s differences in behavioral traits. Some behaviors for example can be socially learned through attending school or being with a group of people who do things similarly or share a common behavior. Later on, when another person joins this group, he or she will be observed to do the things that the rest of the group do. Hence, this shows that some behavioral traits cannot only be inherited but also be acquired and learned (Powell, 2006).
In conclusion, both nature and nurture play a very big role in shaping an individual’s character and behavior. Thus, debating on the two theories is simplistic because the influences of nature and nurture usually intersect with each other. A person’s perspective between the two theories should be respected and be considered as both nature and nurture are evidently relevant in the development of a human being.