Nature and Nurture: Concepts of why we behave in the manner that we do.

Essay by RedkdkCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2008

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AbstractNature vs. nurture has long been seen as conflicting concepts of personality and behavioral structure by scientists and researchers alike. There are untold studies of this type proving that both nature (DNA) and or nurture (environment) are responsible for human behavior of which many are listed within this paper. While both concepts show significance in the foundation of the construct of character traits, it has yet to be shown that one is exclusively superior over the other. In fact, these structural concepts seem to be interrelated and therefore should not be seen as conflicting ideas but as companions in the creation of human behavior.

Since the first attempt to study nature and nurture in the development of personality and behavioral traits over a century ago, the question that has divided developmental psychologist is whether nature or nurture has the greater bearing (Plomin, 2002). What behavior geneticists try to do is to figure out what is responsible for the differences; that is, to what extent do people differ because of differences in genes, environment, or a combination of both (Haig, 2003).

In attempting to understand the intricacies of this issue it is useful to go back to its roots. The idea that people differ in their personality and temperament goes back at least to the time of Galen in the second Century (Rutter, 2006). Galen proposed temperamental traits into sub-divisions of four different qualities – melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric (Rutter, 2006). Galen believed that these inborn humors not only determined a person’s behavioral and emotional tendencies but he used them also to refer to their bodily dispositions and susceptibility to certain diseases. While Galen’s theory did not survive him the concept of psychological states being biologically based was prominent until the emergence of Freud’s Psychoanalytical theory and Pavlov’s Behaviorism theory...