Saturday, March 4, 2017

Nature vs. Nurture


Nature vs. Nurture. It has been an ongoing debate in psychological circles since the dawn of the field of psychology itself. 

Some psychologists insist that our personalities are formed at the same time our brain is formed. That whether we become a sociopath, and introvert, an extrovert, a compassionate person, a selfish person, etc. is hardwired into our brain from birth. They state that the environment we are raised in has no impact whatsoever on the presence, or lack thereof, of those traits. They point to the brain scans of sociopaths, where the region of the brain that controls empathy is literally a dead zone, as evidence that biological factors determine personality. They also point out that introverts and extroverts exhibit completely different brain patterns. 

Perhaps the most convincing argument for the nature argument is that siblings often have completely different personalities, despite being raised in the same environment. If environment was truly the determining factor, they argue, then wouldn't siblings have almost identical personalities? 

Other psychologists insist that our personality is molded in our formative childhood years, and is largely dependent upon the environment that we are raised in. They state that a child raised in a compassionate and loving home will become a compassionate and loving adult. That a child raised in a dysfunctional, abusive, or unloving home will become an adult unable to form healthy relationships and more prone to criminal activity. They point out that those raised in loving and supportive homes have much lower rates of juvenile delinquency, for example, than those from "dysfunctional" homes. 

Other psychologists find some middle ground by positing that it is a combination of the two, both nature and nurture, that determine who we are. 

What are your thoughts? Are we shaped by nature or nurture? Does one have more influence than the other?