• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


DQ: Chapter P - The Story of Psychology

Page history last edited by Adrienne Rowe 13 years, 9 months ago

Prompt: Psychology is plagued by three major issues: stability v. change, human rationality v. irrationality and nature v. nurture. Of these, Psychology’s biggest and most enduring debate concerns the nature-nurture issue: the controversy over the relative contributions of genes (nature) and experience (nurture) to the development of psychological traits and behavior.


Question: Are we who we are because of nature or because of nurture?  Include in your discussion an example to support your thoughts.

Comments (39)

Raven Rice said

at 7:55 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe that we are who we are due to nurture. Yes, genetic tendencies do exist, but the way one acts ultimately originates from their upbringing or environmental factors. For example, identical twins have the same genetic make-up, but do not act exactly alike due to personality differences and how each sibling is viewed by others. Religion is also an example of the dominance of nurture in a person’s life. If one is raised into a family that has strong religious beliefs, they will grow to practice and embrace that religion. The same is for a child that is brought up in a home that is often prone to violent behavior, that child will most likely have a larger acceptance to violence than a child that was not exposed to violence in their home. Conclusively, I believe that our behavior is developed over time in response to own experiences.

Rachel Wachtel said

at 7:59 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe that nurture has a great affect on who we are. Growing up in a home that is full of stress and anger will cause a child to become more stressed and angry. Growing up in an environment that is religiously affiliated will put into a child's mind that religion is important and they will grow up believing that. Children at a young age believe and follow examples from what others tell them and do. Who we are around growing up can greatly effect who we become in the future and this is nurture. I do believe that nature can contribute to our brains and logic/knowledge but when it comes to personality, and the person that people see we are, I feel like nurture has a greater affect on a person as a whole.

Victoria Robles said

at 8:27 pm on Jan 9, 2013

In my opinion I think we are who we are because of nurture. I say this because we are so used to the behavior that surrounds us. My example would be that if somebody is mad then the other person feels something. No saying what they feel, but still they feel something in their behavior. We are also used to the traits that are carried.
We carry the traits of our parents I can say. We all sometimes tend to follow the steps that are parents did when we were kids, because we its a nurture. It is something that comes from us. Lets say that if your parents were to "steal" then you would have the idea to do it too. My point is now given that nurture has had more affect on us then nature.

yasmin sabanilla said

at 9:06 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Humans are who they because of nurture. A person’s actions and thoughts are influenced by the people who are around them. Everyone is born the same what makes everyone different is the way they were raised. A baby doesn’t know what’s bad or good until their parents raise him and tell him the difference. We are influenced by our parent’s views in the world and of the people around them. For example, in the time of segregation, white children would be brought up by black nannies. The child and the nanny would develop a relationship that would last until the child learned from society that the nanny for being black was inferior to him. If the same child was to be brought up in a house that had acceptance to different people the child would have most likely rejected society’s ideas of segregation. This is not to say that if a child is born to a criminal he will be a criminal, but it means that it most likely for that person to copy the actions they see every day than the actions they see rarely.

Isaac Shin said

at 9:07 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe that we are who we are because of nurture. At a young age, children are greatly influenced by the actions of their role models. So when children see their role model do something/say something, they will most likely try to imitate and be like them. At a young age, Children are easily influenced so how they are raised will greatly influence on how they turn out. As an example, if a child was raised by violent parents then the child will most likely turn out to be a violent person as well because of how he/she was raised. Nature plays a part but i believe that nature plays a much bigger role in who we are as a person.

Bobby Karnick said

at 9:15 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe that the majority of our personality traits comes from nature, not nurture. Some traits can be influenced and changed by someone's upbringing, but the fact remains that our brains are constructed based on genetic information which is out of our control. Aggressive animals like wolves and grizzly bears can sometimes be trained to become nonviolent, but more often than not this is impossible, and we find that their natural tendency for violence is too strong. Similarly, human children inherit most of their traits genetically from their ancestors. This is most apparent with regards to intelligence; children may be taught new skills, but there is no way to "teach intelligence" to someone. Most people are born with a certain level of mental ability that cannot be changed. Also, we see that most mental disorders are hereditary, not leaned. Parents with a history of mental illness are more likely to give birth to mentally ill children. It cannot be argued that these parents teach their children to have mental issues such as depression or schizophrenia. Rather, these traits are inherited genetically, and cannot be learned or un-learned over the course of ones lifetime.

Halle Scott said

at 9:23 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Along with my other classmates, I believe that nurture results in our psychological traits and behavior.The way that people act, walk, and talk all has to do with the experiences that they have had the the environment that they were raised in. Each person's personality and what people consider morally right and wrong are held to different standards in different households and different parts of the world. For example, if a child's parents teach him or her that riding in a car without a seatbelt is okay, then that belief becomes a part of what they believe as well. It is not predetermined in their genes that they won't wear seatbelts if their parents believe that they are unnecessary. For all we know, that child could have a best friend diein the future in a car accident because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt. That experience would most likely change his or her beliefs about wearing seatbelts. I am agreeing with Raven that if you think about it logically, identical twins have the same genetic makeup. So if the environment surrounding them- friends, family, and other peers- doesn't determine each of their behaviors, then identical twins should be the exact same no matter their environment. However, no one is ever exactly the same - even identical twins. Another example is when the topic of politics comes up in conversation. Your genes do not determine whether you will be a republican, democrat, or any other party. Odds are that if your parents think one way, then you will think the same way too. In my opinion, every person's psychological behavior has everything to do with nurture and the environment that people are raised in.

QuintonJ said

at 9:29 pm on Jan 9, 2013

While genes affect us from birth until the day that we die, I feel as though people are always changing and are constantly learning from their mistakes and experiences. Genes no doubt affect who we are physically; our skin color, our height, the way our face looks, but they do not, however, determine who we are. Despite our physical features, all people have the capacity to change and learn from experience in an effort to better themselves for the future. For instance, in an experiment conducted by John Watson, a baby named Albert demonstrated that humans are not influenced by genes or nature, but rather by nurture. In this experiment, Albert was placed next to a rat and showed no emotion, but after training Albert to expect a loud, unsettling noise when he saw the rat, he began to cry every time he saw the rat even when there was no noise. This shows that humans are born innocent and only through experiences do we learn and shape who we are and how we react to external sources.

Jordan Srochi said

at 10:03 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe that we are who we are because of the concept of nurture. The way that we as humans behave comes almost entirely from the environment in which we are surrounded. The way that we act and think cannot be found in our genes because so many outside forces change the way people feel all the time. Just one event can change a person entirely, so how could one assume that the genes already inside of him or her have predicted that change? They haven't. For example, if someone has a family member or friend who got killed in a drunk driving accident they may decide from then on that they do not want to drink alcohol again and may even also develop a fear of driving. This decision or change within their character would come from the environment and events that happened, not their genetic makeup that has been inside their bodies for years and, which would not have been able to predict this event and change. Therefore, if one single event outside of one's body and genes can affect someone's entire outlook on life, choices he or she makes, and his or her behavior towards certain things, then clearly the idea of nature making us who we are is out of the question. Nurture and the environment we experience everyday has to be the cause for who we each turn out to be.

Charlotte H said

at 10:04 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe that our human traits are developed by the concept of nurture. We are who we are because of the experiences we have had growing up. We learn how to read, talk, and walk by observing how our parents and others act around us. If a child is raised in a religious household, they will grow up believing that religion is an important part in their lives. The way a child behaves greatly depends on how their parents or other significant people in their lives act. If their parents value family time and think it is important to have family dinner every night, then that child will grow up believing that family is an important part of their lives. Another example would be if a child is abused while growing up; there is a good chance that the child will be abusive towards his family when he is older. That child is a product of the environment he lives in. When a child experiences certain traditions or beliefs of their partents, they grow up believing that it is the normal and they will continue these traditions and beliefs throughout their lives. It is not to say that nature does not play a role in developing our human traits, but I believe that nurture plays a bigger role.

Ayodeji Ojebode said

at 10:07 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I will not deny the fact that many things about who we are come from our genes, like our height, ethnicity, or even our behavior towards different conflicts, but I believe that most of our personality comes from the nurture idea rather than nature. I believe that the influence that people, and even television impact our lives to an extent that we may even imitate what we see. For example, a 4 year old who grew up in a poor neighborhood surrounded by gangs and guns would most likely grow up by their experiences to these controversies. That boy may end up holding a gun in the future. Another explanation is when I was in England as a child, and I was surrounded by people of a different culture; how they speak, greet people, terms of slang, but eventually I got the hang of it, and it was embed into my personality, based on my experiences. Therefore, I have a strong belief that we are who we are because of the nurture side of the debate; our experiences in life.

AthinaNavarro said

at 10:11 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Nurture overtakes the influence of the traits we inherit, nature. Nurture determines how your personality and compassion towards others develops. In the early years of development if we were born mean and cold, but were raised with nothing but compassion and warmth we wouldn't know any other way to behave or interact. As adults we might have a few more nature traits that we were born with included into our lives but as a whole I do think that nurture is what influences us the most. You cant be born a certain way and never change or be the exact opposite, both nature and nurture are huge factors in growing up and being 'normal'. On both sides of each factor if we were to just function with the nature, and qualities that we inherit I don't think that person would be considered normal, as on he contrary if a person were to grow up and exemplify the same type of nurture to everyone it wouldn't be such a functional personality.

John R said

at 10:17 pm on Jan 9, 2013

There are some instances in life where who were are is affected by nature and our physical make up. A person who is naturally athletic, strong, and coordinated is more likely going to lean towards becoming an athlete opposed to someone who is very small and weak. Except for the few exceptions, I believe that people are who they are because of nurture. Unlike Thomas Hobbes, someone who believes that people are naturally evil and corrupt, I believe that human’s personalities and traits are greatly influenced by the people around them and what they are exposed to when they are young. Some people are very fortunate to live in, for the most part, safe environments where their parents are able to teach them right from wrong. If people are not exposed to corruption or violence at an early age, they are least likely to be that way when they grow up. One huge problem in America is how violent people are, with murders and robberies happening every day. I believe that this violent nature is due to improper nurturing of children, where they are not taught the severities of their actions. The main place where people see violence is on their televisions and in their video games. I think that all of the exposure to violence to people makes them a little less sensitive to killing. Young people also tend to act the same their role models act. There are many people that look up to sports stars and musicians when they are young, and if they promote bad behavior such as chewing tobacco in baseball, kids are going to want to emulate what these “role models” are doing. Another way that people are influenced is by the people they grow up with and where they grow up. Most people want to make friends with others and therefore change who they really are to just fit in with the others surrounding them.

Jenna Becker said

at 10:20 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Nature is an extremely impactful contribution to the development of traits and behaviors. I believe that genetics completely determine a person’s personality. A specific experience might cause somebody to feel differently for a while, but everyone is chemically the same their entire life. It is impossible to hide specific behavioral traits that are so obviously prevalent in both a parent and child. Every person I know has specific mannerisms or aspects of their personality that mirror those of their parent or sibling. It is possible for one to develop a mental disability over time, however, this mental disability did not create itself due to culture or experience. The person was born with this trait. Similarly, people are able to learn and absorb knowledge over time, but are born with the mental capacity and abilities that allow them to do so. The nature of a person controls their personality, no matter their culture. Studies have shown that identical twins separated at birth, raised in completely different environments, still share an overwhelming amount of the same traits and behaviors. In my opinion, the nature of a person strongly impacts their psychological behaviors.

JaQuan said

at 10:24 pm on Jan 9, 2013

It's definitely nature. You are the way you are because of how you were constructed. Stuff is passed down from generations and that's what makes you who you are. Everyone is focusing too much on small isolated incidents which isn't the main point of argument. Nature affects who you are as a person: the way you think, act, etc. To the people above who are talking about drunk driving or guns or wearing seatbelts or violence or whatever, those are small, and very specific, events that don't affect "psychological traits and behavior." Nature is the only thing that affects how general behavior can be determined. So yah....

(I apologize to everyone who read my post and realized they were wrong. Sorry bout it..)

John R said

at 10:42 pm on Jan 9, 2013

So your saying that if two identical people were separated at birth, and put in different environments, say one in a trailer park in a Detroit and the other in a nice home in Dunwoody, GA, your saying that these people would be quite similar if they met when they were 40. No, the person from Detroit would probably go to a bad school surrounded by a whole bunch of people that participate in gang violence. He would most likely participate in these activities if he were not NURTURED by someone who would teach him to stay away from those kids.

JaQuan said

at 10:44 pm on Jan 9, 2013

That's exactly what I'm sayin.

Sam Behrend said

at 10:46 pm on Jan 9, 2013

He just proved you wrong...

JaQuan said

at 10:47 pm on Jan 9, 2013

He didn't do nothing of the sort.

Bobby Karnick said

at 3:00 pm on Jan 10, 2013

I agree wholeheartedly with JaQuan on this one. Bill Gates son is always going to have more intellectual potential than the son of The Situation, no matter what kind of "nurture" they get. End of story...

John R said

at 10:46 pm on Jan 9, 2013

That's absolutely impossible!!!!

JaQuan said

at 10:47 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I'm also sayin, that they might have different things about them like the slang they use, but those are small irrelevant characteristics when considering the prompt which asks for "psychological traits and behavior." Psychological traits and general behavior patterns are determined by nature, not nuture. Ya fool!!!

John R said

at 10:56 pm on Jan 9, 2013

You are completely disregarding the fact that people are influenced by those around them. Maybe in a perfect physics and biological world, people might only effected by genetic traits and individual personalities. But its not!!! People want to fit in with those around them and do things that others are doing that might be different from their nature.

JaQuan said

at 11:00 pm on Jan 9, 2013

That still doesn't affect the topic John R!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So the kid from the Detroit trailer park speaks slang cause he wants to fit in. What's your point?! He is still the same person he was born as in terms of his general patterns of behavior. #AddressTheQuestionBoiiiii

John R said

at 11:05 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Jaquan, he doesn't just speak slang, but he carries around a gun with him at all times, skips school on a regular basis, and therefore cannot become as successful as his twin that lives in Dunwoody who is taking AP classes and has a decent job.

JaQuan said

at 11:09 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Okay John R, those are all still minor responses to a SPECIFIC situation. You can't judge someone based on there artificial intelligence or ability to get a job. Those aren't reliable indicators of someone's behavioral patterns. #ComeAtMe

John R said

at 11:19 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Stop being so ignorant Jaquan! Say if Bill Gates is your dad and you are born with the ability to learn a lot. But since he is already a billionaire, he allows you to slack off and do what ever you want. Your not going to meet your maximum potential if you are not nurtured well.

JaQuan said

at 11:29 pm on Jan 9, 2013

John R, It's not about meeting your "maximum potential". It's about how a person thinks and behaves psychologically. Bill Gates' son is still going to be the same person in terms of his general behavior and psychological processes. Actions resulting from other actions aren't indicative of an alteration of the way a person thinks or behaves psychologically. C'mon John R, you're smart enough to understand this!

Sam Behrend said

at 10:31 pm on Jan 9, 2013

We have characteristics that are influenced by nature and by nurture. Factors such as hormones which induce moods of sexuality, excitement and fear. The alleles we inherit from our parents will express mostly physical traits not psychological. The human response to these physical traits will change accordingly to how the human is nurtured throughout their life. Particular people may be prone to depression and have a more somber personality if their body does not produce serotonin or enough receptors to transfer the signals throughout the nervous system. A human's serotonin levels can also be altered by the foods a human intakes, because the stomach holds 90+ percent of the body's serotonin.

Kiara said

at 11:16 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe that humans are who they are because of nurture. Although what is inherited from birth plays a large role in our human lives, I believe that what is learned over time plays an even larger role. While characteristics such as hair color, eye color, height, etc. can all be attributed to genetics, I believe that that the way a person portrays and behaves themselves is determined by experiences and environmental factors. This can be seen in the behavior of a young child. A child raised in a home where the importance of being well behaved is constantly taught and demonstrated will grow up to be a well behaved adult. The same goes for a child whom is raised in a home with no rules. This child did not have the same opportunity to learn how to conduct oneself, therefore, they will grow up not as well behaved. This is because, according to John Locke, upon birth the mind is a blank slate waiting to be written upon by experience. Nature only goes so far in determining who we are, but ultimately nurture picks up where nature leaves off and determines the largest part of our human lives.

Kalpana Arora said

at 11:20 pm on Jan 9, 2013

Nature affects our personality in many ways such as our genes,ethnicity,sexual orientation however nurture definitely takes over as we grow up. For example, I believe that we can train people and animals to think a certain way. Although intelligence is determined by genes, a good educational background furthers that knowledge. The more we read, the more information we gather, the more intelligent we become. The tv and internet are a big part of nurture these days and definitely affect personalities in many ways. For example, children start to act and imitate certain characters on tv who they can associate themselves with . This is a part of their personality at the time. As humans, we are adaptive to our environment. If we were who we were because of nature then we would not be adaptive. I have lived in several different countries and have developed a far more understanding and adaptive personality compared to many people I meet on a regular basis. I have noticed myself adapt to the norms of a country which seemed bizarre initially. I definitely believe that my experiences and my circumstances (in other words my "nurture") have shaped who I am.

Alexis Davis said

at 11:49 pm on Jan 9, 2013

I believe we are who we are from being nurtured. For example I believe that newborns are a blank canvas, and that their developing personalities are influenced by the people who surround them. If you give a child love and affection they usually will show the same amount of affection back to you and to others. I say this from personal experience with my baby brother, I treat him kindly and he does the same towards me. For people who have been neglected, they do not learn the proper behaviors of normal societies. Any negative traits and behaviors as a child that have not been addressed are allowed to expand. For example, if they are raised to believe that negative behaviors are acceptable, they will continue to use these behaviors towards others with communication and trying to “fit in” with society will be a challenge.

Asya said

at 2:55 am on Jan 10, 2013

Of course both nature and nurture noticeably have a great impact on who we are, however, I believe that nurture is what truly makes us distinct from one another and really molds us into the people that we are. Each person is born with the same amount of identical body parts, (with the exception of mutations), which may not physically look similar, nevertheless, they each perform the same specific function. Yes, each person is born with unique characteristics and an original set of genetic tendencies which initially affects the behavior and identity of a person, but these tendencies can be altered under varied environments and experiences throughout life. A completely healthy child of two healthy and happy parents who suffers from a severe trauma in life will definitely behave in a much distinguished manner as opposed to that same child not undergoing any trauma at all. Regardless, that child is made up of the same genes, yet will consist of a separate personality or set behavior in each of those two scenarios. In a lot of cases, offspring with inherited genes turn out completely opposite from their parents as a person! Characteristics and genes only provide you with the resources vital to living and reproducing, not necessarily arranging a permanent identity.

Celeste Gonzalez said

at 7:52 am on Jan 10, 2013

I believe we are who we are, not because of nature, but because of nurture. This is because, yes, we are born a certain way, but we grow up, meet people, experience different thing and events in life, so this changes how we view things. And so it causes a personality change at times. For example let's say a person is born shy and timid. This could change because their life experiences. They could change and become a very out-going person. This comes to show that a personality and pouints of view can come to change because of how they are raised, what their parents teach them, their experiences, etc.

Miles Jones said

at 10:55 am on Jan 10, 2013

I believe we are who we are because of nurture instead of nature. There are traits and psychological behaviors that have been given by nature ( for example evolutionary psychology) but I believe that most of the reasons that we act how we act are results of experience. There are things we are born with (knowing who our mother is, phobias, etc.) but most of the things we have to learn to know through experience (right and wrong, the way we talk, morals, principles, etc.). For example, I had a fear of heights from as long as I can remember. For example, when most people are children they were afraid of the dark. this is an evolutionary phobia that could have been born within us. But with time and age comes experience an eventually that fear gets eliminated in mos people. This is a good example as to why nurture triumphs over nature

Bryan Sanchez said

at 1:19 pm on Jan 10, 2013

I believe that nurture influences us more than nature. Although we do get some basic things from nature, nurture influences us a lot more. People develop the way they are by experience, not by what they “Inherit”. An example of nurture is how siblings develop. They behave differently than each other even though they “inherited” the same things from nature. It is nurture that ultimately decides how people behave and react to things

Noah Doherty said

at 8:18 pm on Jan 10, 2013

I believe when that a human’s characteristics (non-physical) come from nurture. There are people who have a genetic mutation, but I believe these people can still act like a polite person if they are raised by the correct people and raised in a positive, non-abusive, environment. For example, if two, autistic, identical twins were separated at birth and one was raised in Newark, New Jersey with abusive alcoholics as parents (twin 1) and one raised in Dunwoody, Georgia by perfect parents (twin 2) they would act, dress, and talk completely different. The twins would also be at different intellect levels, twin 2, most likely, would be smarter than twin 1.

Ben Dawson said

at 11:51 pm on Jan 10, 2013

We are who we are because of both "nature" and "nurture",however, nurture plays a bigger role in who someone is. Personality defines who you are and your personality is based wholly on your experiences and encounters with those around you. For instance, children of different ethnicities who play together don't see color - they see their friend - they see another human being with similar interests and sometimes compatible personalities, not race or color. It's not until a parent intervenes and says, " You're better than him/her because your skin is lighter." or "Don't play with their kind." that children begin to develop that kind of mindset. Or for another example, hatred. No one is born with the concept of hatred - Hatred is a learned behavior. It's not until someone is exposed to something they don't like - something that provokes them either mentally, spiritually or physically , that they develop this emotion of utter repulsiveness.

Kaelyn McMichael said

at 12:18 am on Jan 11, 2013

i Believe We Are Who We Are Due To Nurture. Throughout The Years We Develop Character Traits, Our Personalities, And Behavior etc. Based On Family And How The Home Is Ran, experiences That You Have Been Through Make You Who You Are. That's Why Sometimes You Have Identical Twins, Who Share The Same DNA But Are Total Opposites. One May Be Outgoing The Other May Be More Timid And Sheltered Because Of Something He Or She Has Gone Through. another Example That Could Be Used Is "The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree" A Child Can Develop Their Parents Bad Habits And Attitudes Because Thats What They Grew Up With.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.