Nature vs. Nurture

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Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick, the famous identical twins from the movie The Parent Trap, were separated at a young age by their divorcing parents. Sharon grew up in Boston to a socialite mother while Susan grew up in California on her father’s ranch. Sharon had structure while Susan’s life was very laid back. They looked the same and liked many of the same things, yet their personalities were very different. What is responsible for these differences? Is it simply that they are two different people with different interests and preferences? Or did the environments that they grew up in play a part in making who they are? In the nature vs. nurture controversy, nature proclaims that our genetic make-up plays the primary role in human development, while nurture declares that our environment dictates our development. The nature vs. nurture controversy is an age old question in the scientific and psychological world with both camps having evidence to support their theories. The controversy lies in which is more influential in the development of human beings. While there is no definitive answer for this, it is interesting to look at each of them separately. There is something to be said for heredity, and the traits that we inherit from our elders. With recent advancements in genetics, such as the mapping of the human genome and the study of epigenetics, scientists have a better understanding of what traits are inherited. There are the obvious traits such as eye color, hair color and skin color that are inherited from one’s parents and there are genes making a person predisposed to certain diseases such as breast cancer. However, the line becomes slightly blurred when it comes to behavior, mental psyche and intelligence. The nu... ... middle of paper ... ...cial behaviors for the older children. While both nature and nurture have evidence to support each theory, it is the effects on one another that may be responsible for shaping development. As we move into a new era where it is no longer nature versus nurture, but instead nature and nurture, the study of behavioral epigenetics will become even more important as we begin to recognize the relationship that exists between the two and how they affect one another. References Kim-Cohen, J., Moffitt, T., Taylor, A., Pawlby, S., & Caspi, A. (2005). Maternal Depression and Children’s Antisocial Behavior : Nature and Nuture Effects. JAMA Psychiatry :62(2), 173-181. Natsuaki, M., Ge, X., Leve LD, N. J., Shaw, D. S., RD, C., LV, S., . . . D, R. (n.d.). Maternal Depression: The Roles of Maternal Depression and Parental Responsiveness. National Institute of Health.

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