Is Genetics And Environment Vital To Human Character? - Gaias Homes

Is Genetics And Environment Vital To Human Character?

 In Science

Sperm donors do not make fathers, nor does an egg donor a mother. There has always been a large controversy over whether inherited genes or environmental influences affect our personality, development, behavior, intelligence and ability. This controversy is commonly referred to as the nature verses nurture conflict or as some like to refer to it as genetics or environment. Some people believe that it is strictly genes that affect our ways of life while some believe that environmental factors affect us, and there are others who who believe that both these factors influence who we are. No matter which way you believe, scientists all over the world have been struggling for centuries deciding whether our personalities are born to us or made by the world around us. 



How much of people’s behavior is due to their genetically determined nature (heredity), and how much is due to nurture, the influences of the physical and social environment in which a child is raised; is one of the major issues that psychologists address. For people that believe heredity is the reason we are, there is something called as behavioral genetics. Behavioral genetics studies the effects of heredity on behavior. These researchers are finding increasing evidence that cognitive abilities, personality traits, sexual orientation, and psychological disorders are determined to some extent by genetic factors. There is no do denying that that genetics plays a role in what makes a person who they are. After all, you do get DNA from two individuals when you are conceived. 

In the past several years, it has been discovered that there is a genetic component to every human trait or behavior. However, genetic influence on traits and behaviors are partially due to genetics account for on average half of the variation of most traits. 


“It is not nature vs. nurture, but the interaction of nature and nurture that drives development.” – Urie Bronfrenbrenner


The longer this debate goes on the more researchers find balances between genetic and environmental influences for certain traits. I may react to an individual in a certain way because of a genetically influenced personality; we may choose certain experiences because they fit best with our instinctive preferences. This means that my experiences may be influenced by my genetic tendencies. One-way researchers study the development of traits and behaviors is by measuring the influence of genetics throughout one’s life span, and it is found to be that genetic influence on certain traits increase as people age. For instance, if I was given more negative attention than another was, my chances are increased for me having depressive symptoms and anti-social behavior. These symptoms disappeared when accounted for genetic influences and how parents treat their children.


There are three types of gene/environment relations:


  • The first one is called a passive correlation. Passive gene-environment correlation refers to the association between the genotype a child inherits from her parents and the environment in which the child is raised.


  • The second one is called Evocative (or reactive) gene-environment correlation happens when an individual’s (heritable) behavior evokes an environmental response.


  • The third association is called Active gene-environment correlation occurs when an individual possesses a heritable propensity to select environmental exposure. 


Genetics play a big role in influencing people within society. Leadership is a big quality that everyone has and there is a wide range of variations. For quite some time, scientists have been trying to draw a line between heredity and leadership. There is not just one single personality trait in leadership; even intelligence can only go so far with leadership.

Although heredity seems to play as a map for my life and yours, science have cautioned that heredity acts only as an influence. Anyone that exhibits a strong will or a strong enough experience could affect the way they act or react for the remainder of their life. The short of it is, if environmental backgrounds are changed, the amount of variation that is due to heredity can also significantly change.



In conclusion, our traits and behaviors are equalized by the role of genetics and the environment in our lives. You nor I can blame either one because without one, the other would not be activated. Heredity affects an abundance of your personality and behavior but the environment manipulates and molds the way we as a society act. Genetics verses environment will always be an ongoing controversy; saying so it will be nearly impossible to pin point accurately where the roles interchange with each other.


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