There has been much research on identical and non-identical twins conducted so as to explore the contributions of genes and environment to individual’s behaviors. However, there is still a big controversy over the nature-versus-nurture idea. Some people ascertain that the way people behave is determined by genes. Meanwhile, others hold the view that the experience plays a more crucial part. In this essay, I will discuss influences of “nature” and “nurture” in the way people act in life.
It is undeniable that nature occupies some importance in behavior formation. The linguist Noam Chomsky stated that “all children are born with a language acquisition device”, which helps them to learn to communicate without effort. Another argument is that a substantial part of human intelligence inherited genetically from parents rather than affected by experience has more effect than socioeconomic background on future behavior such as crime offence (Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray).
In fact, some evidences suggest that there is a correlation between IQ and crime: groups with lower average IQ’s are likely to commit more crimes than those with higher IQ’s because “the relationship depends on the capability of the criminal to assess the degree of risk involved in committing a criminal act at a particular place and time. ” (Robert Lindsay 2007). In addition, variation in temperament and personality is attributed to genetic factors.
A typical example is that twins separated at birth often show the same interest and hobby in their whole lives. Despite some evidences which are in favor of nature’s role in personal progression, nurture is the answer to the question why identical twins still behave differently when reared separately. Firstly, children usually learn to behave by observing and imitating the behaviors of their parents. It means that father and mother are influential people to children from their childhood to adolescence and adulthood. Beckett, C.
(2002) also has asserted that the ability to learn a specific language seems to be the product of environment rather than genetic inheritance. Thus linguistic ability is acquired only either by living in speaking environment or learning from those speaking that language. Another reason supporting the significance of nurture is level of aggression in human is not inborn but depends on different situations. It is stated that when the population was dense several decades ago and there was little government control, people were more violent (Chance, P 2009).
However, nurture and nature debate is too simplistic because heredity and environment cannot be separate (Beckett, C. 2002; Chance, P 2009). In reality, there is no clear way of measuring contribution of genetics and experience to individual’s behavior. There’s more, “[i]n many cases, a complex interplay between inherited and environmental factors is at work” (Beckett, C 2002). “Some behaviors arise from inherited characteristics,…. some behaviors is environmentally determined” (Dockery, M. and Reiss 1999).
In other situations, the way people behave is under influence of different factors which could be assigned to either category (Beckett, C 2002). This essay has analyzed the extent to which behaviors are affected by nature and nurture. On the one hand inborn ability to learn a language, IQ and personality transformation are genetically determined, on the other hand they are also products of environment. Overall then, to my belief, nature and nurture is inextricably interwoven in determining behaviors of a person.