Capstone 230

Essay by fivetwosevenCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2009

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Personality is a result of a person's genetics as well as their environment. Psychologist Donald Hebb once answered a journalist's question of "which, nature or nurture, contributes more to personality?" by asking in response, "which contributes more to the area of a rectangle, its length or its width?" The text uses the example of both the musician and the instrument contributing to music. It doesn't matter which contributes more, nor is it possible to really measure. There are aspects to a person's personality that are passed down from parent to child. There is a field dedicated to studying the genetic link to personality traits and behavior called behavioral genetics. In the 1930's, the theory that personality could be determined by one's blood type was popular in Japan. The process of "blood typing" is sometimes still used for hiring practices. In humans, a number of genetically based personality traits have been identified.

We know that mental illness and alcoholism have genetic links.

There are also aspects of personality that are shaped by a person's environment. The behavioral disposition theory is used to predict how a person will react in a particular environment. When a person consistently reacts the same way in a situation, they are exhibiting personality traits based on that environment. American psychologist John Watson demonstrated that the acquisition of a phobia could be explained by classical conditioning. He said, "Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select...regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors." Genetics and environment are not the only two factors that contribute to personality, however. The experiences a person has can...