Nature Versus Nurture: Genes or Environment Research Essay
The nature versus nurture controversy is the dispute trying to find out whether the environment or genetic makeup shapes us who we are, affects our growth, behavior, intellect, and abilities. This is one of the biggest discussions ever-occupying thinker’s minds. Genes are the segments of the DNA bearing information that determines a gender, hair and eye color, some of other attributes and are molecular heredity units. While nurture refers to the non-genetic determinants, recently, scholars distinguished the third approach, which is the combination of both forces.
Over the years lots of scientific investigations have been done on the genome and behavior of twins separated at birth. Twins carry the identical genome. However, the surroundings can change during their lives. This fact makes them a perfect prototype for figuring out how natural attributes and the environmental influence contribute to particular traits. To conduct the research, the scientist has to pick up any trait he wants to observe. Then, scholars gather and compare data from identical twins who have been brought up together or lived in different families. In order to see how biology and nurture play their role in the trait under consideration, scholars begin with the study of the correspondences and discrepancies between these sets of twins. What they found, was that the way how a person behaved was a result of a combination of both powers. By studying twins with the same genotype that hadn’t lived together, scientists were able to see more clearly how similar, or different twins’ behavior is than if they had been raised in one family. According to the 1986 Minnesota research genetics plays a larger role on personality than previously thought. Twins’ personalities were influenced by environment when they have raised apart, but not when they lived together. Another Minnesota study considered genetics and IQ. About 70 percent of IQ deviation among the twin population was triggered by genetic diversity. Around 30 percent was because of environmental impact.
Albeit, the investigation has shown that both genetics and the environment left their impact on traits. Scholars discovered an immense contrast in disease susceptibility. By studying the risk of bipolar disorder, scientists found that 70% was down to genome and the other 30% was due to the surroundings. Nonetheless, the risk for obtaining eating disorders was around 60% environmental and 40% genetic.
Despite the previous arguments, scholars admit that there is a relation between exposure to environment and genome of the person. Thus, they distinguish three major types of relations between genes and environment. The first one is a passive correlation. It means that the surroundings where a person has been raised were shaped by genetic characteristics that parents possess. Parents develop a special atmosphere that reflects their genetic peculiarities. For instance, if a parent is an artist, he sets up the environment containing materials for painting. As the capability to paint is hidden in genes, it is not clear whether the kid has inherited that ability or he developed it in the surroundings set up by his parent. In this case, it is not obvious what determinant has become crucial. The next kind of correlations is evocative, and it occurs as a feedback to the inborn behavior of the person to the environment. And the last one is active. Here an individual’s selection of a concrete environment depends on his genetic makeup. For instance, an extrovert prefers to pick up exciting activities rather than being alone or looking for a quiet company.
One of the longest twin studies appeared in the journal Nature Genetics in 2015, and it was based on the information gathered over the 50 years of the twin research. More than 300 character traits were analyzed. It also incorporated information from the latest 2748 papers, including data about 14,558,903 twins observed. Finally, scholars proved that both nature and nurture have an impact on the personality.
One more stunning discovery was that the majority of illnesses that humanity suffers from is caused by the way we think. It means that genes do not determine everything. What was found is that the way we think can affect our physical as well as emotional state. People are not the victims of their genome. Dr. Caroline Leaf was one of the scientists who supported the hypothesis and later the discovery that people themselves create their brain and not vice versa. As stated in her book, if someone makes a bad decision he allows a toxic thought to penetrate into his mind which can evoke “bad sleeping genes.” As a consequence, a person can either do something evil or suffer from depression. An individual is completely responsible for his behavior. No one has a section in their brain that forces him, for instance, to become a thief, – the person can only become the one due to circumstances. The way person changes his mind changes the genetic expression in the body. We have a cascade of genes in our bodies operating at different times, and we can control them by our mind. “To say that behave badly because of our genes means to find an excuse,” mentions Caroline Leaf, а cognitive neuroscientist. A person can overcome bad thoughts and change his behavior from bad to good, and it is not about the genetic makeup. Physical is controlled by what we are doing with our minds. The way people think impacts their physical and spiritual development, ultimately, genes do not determine people’s personalities completely.
By and large, the nature versus nurture dispute has been one of the biggest debates between biologists and psychoanalysts for many years. To find an appropriate answer whether humanity is under the impact of their genetics or surroundings, and what affects their personality attributes scholars conducted multiple experiments. The experiment with twins revealed that genetics influences a personality more than previously thought. Discoveries conducted by Caroline Leaf show that an individual is completely responsible for his behavior and can control his genes. Our brain controls our body. Anyone can overcome bad thoughts and change his behavior from bad to good, and it is not about the genetic makeup. Taking into consideration one of the latest studies scholars were able to reach a conclusion – it is the combination of these two vital aspects that defines us who we are and who we eventually become.
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