Nature vs Nurture: Debating the Role of Genetics and Environment

To what extent is the claim true, that who we become as humans is determined by the way we are brought up as children? This nature vs nurture argumentative essay question is all about the Nature VS Nurture theory and debate that is one of the oldest and continuous philosophical issues within psychology.

Nature refers to all genes and genetic factors that affect who we are, our physical appearance such as blood group and eye color, as well as the characteristics of our personality. Nurture refers to all the environmental variables that affect us, including our early childhood experiences, the way we grew up, our social relationships and our surrounding culture. In this essay and in the following paragraphs, I'll be analyzing four different sources (video, article, debate, and an experiment) mentioning what have demonstrated, the author’s argument and my own opinion.

The first source is a research that was held by Dr. Beben Benyamin from the Queensland Brain Institute and researchers at VU University of Amsterdam that ended with a draw. The results showed that our health is governed by both nature and nurture equally. The researchers reviewed almost every twin study across the world from the past 50 years, involving more than 14.5 million twin pairs. Their findings were published in the Nature Genetics journal. It revealed on average, that variations in human traits and diseases are 49 percent genetic, and 51 percent due to environmental factors and / or measurement errors. Even though the contribution of both nature and nurture factors has been balanced for most of the traits studied, the research has also shown that there could be other considerable differences in individual traits. For instance, the risk of bipolar disorder was about 70 percent due to genetics and 30 percent due to environmental factors.

The second source is one of the articles on the Explorable website by Sarah Mae Sincero. The article speaks and emphasis on both parts of the debates separately. It mentions that our physical features can be recognized as similar to our parents, such as eyes color from the father, and the hair color of the mother. However, our personality and talents may not be the same. They might not be from either the parents, as the environment and surroundings in which we grew up may have a lasting impact and influence on the way we speak, act and respond to things. In that article, specifically, the part of nature, there was something that caught my attention and my eyes and almost changed my mind on the debate. It has been stated that there may be a possibility of a 'gay gene'. It means and explains that gays may actually be born that way. The other issue is that criminal acts, a tendency to divorce and aggressive behavior that causes abuse are justified by 'behavioral genes' once researchers have confirmed their existence. Although, on the other hand, under the part of nurture it was mentioned that environmental factors are the real origins of our behavior... In the end, the article didn't specify the answer to our confusing question: Are we born this way or are we acting according to our life experiences? The discussion of nature versus nurture continues, but still, it is a fact that we have some traits defined by our genes and others can be induced due to our surroundings/ environment and life experience.

They are now adults and they are remembering the memories of their visits by strangers who were helping to conduct a long-term secret study of their families. They, in here, refers to two twins and triplets that were separated at birth from an orphan's care centers. None of the twins or the triplets knew that they had an identical sibling until the adoption service that split them up was going out of business. The confession was through a woman from the center that had cancer and knew that she was dying which is why she admitted everything before taking her last breath. After the stranger's first twins met, they fit in like a puzzle piece reunion. They found quite similar patterns and characteristics that they had in common besides their similar physical features, such as marrying in the same year, coaching the same sport, having same number of kids with similar ages and the same favorite food. The other twins and triplets also had similar characterizations to the first twins. However, and as I mentioned, all the identical siblings discovered that they all together have something in common, something strange and uncomfortable. After telling the interviewer that they had strangers coming to visits throughout their life ages and asking them to do different psychological tests, they found out that they were enrolled in a mysterious psychological study. This experiment almost ended the debate with a dominant percentage for Nature in winning.

The last video that I watched and the small guides that I read speak about something that I never knew, something called Epigenetic. Epigenetics refers to the changes in gene expression that don’t involve changes to the DNA sequence. And here comes the environment. Environmental habits and factors such as food, drugs, or exposure to toxins can cause genetic changes by changing the way molecules bind to DNA or changing the structure of proteins that DNA wraps. When any mutation change like that happens to a protein -that plays a critical role in the body-, it may disrupt normal growth or cause a medical condition. These conditions are called genetic disorders. Therefore, we know that the gene we are born with is the gene we have, but the environment such as nutrition, exercise, smoke, stress, and love are what affects these genes and creates methyl groups that could turn on or off our genes and affects our biology and makes the differences.

In conclusion, after reading and going through many articles, websites, and videos, I got to a final decision on which side I should take. Are we who we are based on our Genes or Environment influences? Like many other people, I also decided to take the middle side of the debate. I realized that both claims are true to some stages. In all the sources that I analyzed, there was an admission that all physical features such as blood type and eye color, as well as genetic diseases such as Albinism and Down syndrome are 100% inherited from your parents. Other behavioral traits, personality, temperament, and non-genetic diseases are all influenced by our surround environment due to nutrition style, stress, unhealthy habits, culture, religion, friends and multimedia.  

10 October 2022
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