The Nature Nurture - Essay Example

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Some defend genetics as the determining factor, while others insist it is experience. Others have argued that both genetics and experience contribute to human…
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The Nature Nurture
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There has long raged a debate about whether personality and behavior have to do with genetics or with experience. Some defend genetics as the determining factor, while others insist it is experience. Others have argued that both genetics and experience contribute to human personality and behavior, and they have made efforts to find out what aspects and in what percentage the influence of each contribute. The reading (Pinel, 2007) dismisses these arguments by describing how the underlying assumption of the additive nature of genetics and experience is flawed.
They use a story of a man, playing a pan flute, and point out the absurdity of arguing whether the music is a result of the musician or the instrument, when obviously it is the interaction between the two which consistently yields the lovely music. In the same sense, the interaction of genes and experience defines the shape of personality and behavior. Particular behavior is seldom associated with a single gene, and a single gene can bear responsibility for more than one behavior. Likewise, two people with a nearly identical experience can have very different behavior responses, and these responses are the result of an interactive set of experiences further interacting with sets of genes.
Layered upon these complexities, is a further one, in that the neurons of the brain and nervous system have plasticity; they are changed through experience. Biology impacts psychology and psychology impacts biology. Stress and loss and winning the lottery are all experiences which shape neurophysiology, just as they are affected by it.
Nature and nurture cannot be separated in accounting for individual behavior. In accounting for variation among individuals, nature and nurture can be separated. Genetics promotes experience, certain types of experience, and by doing so, genetics promotes behavior; genetic differences promote psychological differences.
Pinel, J. P. (2007). Biopsychology, Seventh Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, copyright 2009
Pearson Education, inc. Read More
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