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  • Aaditri Jha

Nature Versus Nurture

Nature versus nurture is the psychological debate over whether a person’s characteristics depend on ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’. Nature is the innate qualities of an individual which are gained by genetic inheritance or other biological factors. Nurture, on the other hand, refers to the traits that are gained through external factors such as personal experiences, and the environment one is surrounded by.

Nature versus nurture is important for psychologists to help deduce things like how they each individually affect a child’s development. It also assists criminologists in figuring out how nature and nurture both work together when it comes to influencing the inner workings of a criminal’s mind. This helps these experts find early signs of psychopathy and sociopathy in people and it helps them receive treatment.

Now, to answer the question: which influences the features of an individual more, nature or nurture? According to experts, it is both. They do not compete with each other to form someone’s characteristics. Rather, they work together and influence one another in creating a person’s traits. The environment can help further reinforce tendencies that someone is genetically predisposed to. At the same time, your life experiences can also alter the effects of nature. For example, if a child is naturally talented at something, they can continue to improve and foster this talent by receiving adequate opportunities and resources. However, if the same child is deprived of these means, they may lose this talent or become significantly worse.

Epigenetics is the study of how the surrounding environment of an individual can affect their genes. Imagine epigenetics as a bridge between nature and nurture, connecting them. It, essentially, shows how nurture can work in influencing nature. While our life experiences cannot completely change our genes, they can influence how our genes work. This shows how vital both nature and nurture are in the growth and development of somebody.

The takeaway from this debate is that while we cannot control genetics, we do have influence over our surroundings. It is important, especially for parents, caretakers, and guardians to remember how much the environment they create for the child under their care, influences the child’s life. Both nature and nurture play significant roles in the lives of every person, shaping who they are from within.

“The debate over nature versus nurture is a false dichotomy. They both interact to produce an individual.”  — Matt Ridley


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