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Nature Genetic Factor Of Personality Psychology Essay

3892 words (16 pages) Essay in Psychology

5/12/16 Psychology Reference this

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Every human being on this Earth have their own personality. Each and every single humans personality is differ from each other. Personality is an individuals thinking, behavior, and feelings. It is also more about their character as long as they live on this Earth. The word “personality” is derived from Latin which means “mask”. Personality ia a general description about an individual and it is the internal characteristics of the same individual. That is the reason why everyones personality is different from each other. In other words it can explained as individual differences. Personality can be ? by nature and nurture. There is a debate wheather personality is determine by nature or nurture.

Nature means genetical factors that contribute to human development. Nature is refer to an individual’s innate qualities.The personality and the traits of a person is determine by nature and it will stays the same. Nature is more to their genetical inheritance of every individuals. This means something they inherit from their father or mother through their genes. Many things can be inherited such as different colour of eyes, obesity, height, looks of a person, skin colour, and a lot more. Sometimes its not only inherit from their parents but there are chances to inherit some of the qualities from their ancestors. So, how do genes within an individual can influence one’s behavior and what does gene means? Gene is made up of DNA. DNA determine our characters. There are certain people who claim that some of their behavior is result of the gene from their parents. There are students who called as born intelligent because some believe intelligence can be inherit. All these can be categorized under nature factors.

Nurture are the environmental factors that contribute to human development. Nurture here refers to personal experiences of an individual gains in his or her life. It can be any factors such as social life, friends influences, community they are living, and so on. Besides that some of the biological factors such as physical trauma and nutritional factors are playing role in influencing individual’s personality. For example, if a child is abused since young there are possibilities for that child to have either positive or negative behavior. Sometimes such incident can cause the victim to act violently towards others and some of the victims will make sure that they never cause the same violence to happen to others. This is because victim A who cause pain for others thinks what happen to them is unfair so for them that is the way they are finding justice. Whereas, victim B who want to make sure others are not abused is because they understand the pain and find a positive way to help other victims instead of abusing others. So, can be said as personality is determined by environmental factors.

Nature (Genetic Factor of Personality)

Human behavior is very influenced by our personality traits, so it can be assumed that genetics also plays a significant role in how we behave throughout our life. 

Nature plays an important aspects in forming on one’s personality. The studies on the Gigantic Three personality factors has shown two longstanding traits of Neuroticism/Emotional Stability and Extraversion/Introversion, it has show that personality traits are largely inherited which show that there are strong biological influences on their individual personality.

As a very rough guide, 50% of our personality is determined by genetic factors and 50% by environmental factors, though exact figures are a matter of debate. 

Different personality traits are likely to be determined by genes/environment in different proportions. For example, studies show that neuroticism (emotional instability) is determined more by genes than environment; whereas extroversion (outgoingness) appears to be more determined by environmental factors.

Nature is the main aspect for creating a good personality can be seen through studies that was carried out by Loehlin (1992), he claim that genetic was the basis personality traits. It was shown when he compared twin and adoption data on Big Five personality traits. The data had showed that, on average, the HE for neuroticism and extraversion ranged from .30 to about .50.

The data are consistent with Eysneck’s biological theory of personality. Genes are basically proteins that tell the body how much to grow in certain areas. Genes may therefore influence personality by telling the body to develop more of a certain hormone (such as testosterone, dopamine or serotonin) which in turn can influence a person’s consistent behaviour patterns (and thus their personality).

Genes may also influence the growth of certain brain areas which influence behaviour. For example, a person with an under-sized amygdala (important brain area for emotion) may be less able to deal with emotion, which can therefore influence how they behave, and thus their personality.

Genes can also affect what situations a person puts themselves in, which can in turn contribute to an individuals personality. For example, a person with a particular gene (or selection of genes), may be more likely to put themselves into an environment where they need to have an outgoing personality, which may actually make them become more extroverted.

Genetic factors also can influence the role of certain environmental factors in the development of a particular trait. For example, a person may have a genetic variant that is know to increase his or her risk for developing emphysema from smoking, an environmental factor. If that person never smokes, then emphysema will not develop.

In humans, some behaviors run in families. For example, there is a clear familial aggregation of mental illness.

Research has shown that some personality traits tend to remain dominant in individuals over a long period and under varying environmental condition, while there are other traits that continue to change as a result of experience and in response to environment. Based on these findings we can say that some aspects of personality may be may be inherited, or at least acquired very early in life. However most other aspects of personality can be directly related to the experience and environment of the individual.

Nurture (Environmental Factor of Personality)

Personality can be affected by genetic influences and also environmental influences. So, these factors can be separated into “Nature and Nurture”. Nature can be consider as genetic that a person received from his or her parents. The genetic makeup of a human being is responsible for their sex, skin color, color of their eyes and hair as well as distinguishing features which are inherited. For example, the physical appearance of a person might be having some similarities with his or her parents. There are findings from adoption and twins studies have shown that there is genetic contribution to personality. The identical twins raised in separate places with different parents still have very strong similarities in gestures, mannerisms and moods. Although heritability is about 50% of a person’s personality but a genetic predisposition does not mean a child will necessarily inherit the trait. A person may be predisposed to depression because of the environmental stresses or situations.

Heredity provides the personality with raw materials such as physique, intelligence, and temperament that maybe shaped by the conditions of our environment. I believe that part of personality of a person is results of environment (nurture). Nurture is the contributions of environment factors and experience to our physical structure and behaviors. The environmental factors that exert pressures on our personality formation are the culture in which we are raised, our early conditioning, the norms among our family, friends and social groups, and other influences that we experience. Environmental influences can be divided into shared and non-shared (or unique) environment. Shared environment is the environment shared by siblings reared in the same family. This includes family background and parent education. Non-shared environment is the environment unique to the individual. This includes different peer group, school environment and other influencer. Plomin and Spinath (2004, p.114) observed that ” because adoptive siblings are unrelated genetically, what makes them similar is shared rearing, suggesting that about a third of the total variance can be explained by shared environment influences.”

John Locke (1632-1704)  an english philosopher, set out the principles of empiricism. He emphasize the hypothesis that people learn primarily from external forces. He asserted that at birth the human mind is a blank slate or tabula rasa, people are born with minds of empty of ideas. Knowledge and ideas are only formed after gain experience and exposure to the outside world. Locke believed that individuals acquire knowledge when they first think of simple ideas and then gradually combine them into more complex ones by three ways. First is combining ideas together and second one is evaluating relation of two different ideas and third is abstracting overall ideas from certain details. In Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1697), Locke recommended practical learning to prepare people to manage their social, economic, and political affairs efficiently. He believed that a sound education began in early childhood and insisted that the teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic be gradual and cumulative.

John B.Watson (1878-1958) a behaviorism psychologist cited ” 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 for example doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant, chief, and yes, even beggar man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors. There is no such thing as an inheritance of capacity, talent, temperament, mental constitution and behavioral characteristic. Watson well known Controversial Experiment with young orphan named Albert. Watson used an 11 month-old Albert to prove that a person could be conditioned to be afraid of something by which he was not previously affected. Albert was put into a room with no other human and no other distracters present. Watson placed a white rat in the room. Albert seemed to like the rat; he even showed affection towards it. Sometime later, Watson would produce a very loud noise every time Albert would reach out to touch the rat. As a result, the baby became terrified of every white and furry object in which he came in contact. This distinguished investigation became known as the Albert experiment. A strong proponent of environmental learning Like John Locke, Watson viewed the infants as tabula rasa to be written by experience and children have no inborn tendencies. From the view of John B.Watson and John Locke, these statement is more towards to the personality is mostly influenced by environmental factor. Arguments against tabula rasa have existed for several centuries, and supporters for both sides exist to this day. The nature versus nurture controversy will more than likely never reach a well-accepted conclusion. Although there are several arguments about the theories of human nurture, but we still remains our opinions. It is because environment factors had changed a lot of people. For us, some people committing crimes because they are force by some environmental conditions.

Another psychology Bandura’s cognitive social-learning theory stresses that human are cognitive beings and active information processors who unlike animals, are likely to think about the relationships between their behavior and its consequences, and are often more affected by what they believe will happen than by the events that actually experience. He provided an example of student and external forces. An education is costly and time consuming and may impose many demands that are less satisfying for a student, but yet the student has to tolerate the costs and unpleasantries because of the probability of anticipate greater rewards once obtain the degree. The behavior is not shaped by its immediately consequences but considering the long term benefits of obtaining an education. Environmental factor become forces to make a person react that way so he or she could gain benefits from it. Social Cognitive Learning Theory can represents that personality traits come partly from one’s learning history and partly from expectations and beliefs. For example, A child that always study hard and always become the arrention of teachers will become an ambitious person. Besides that, there are two more powerful environmental influences that make the changes of a person’s personality. There are parents and friends. For example, a child that born from an educated family, the child most propably will become a stress person and he or she will has less time to interact with others. So, parents also may influence one’s in things such as religion, ideas of masculinity or feminity, skills and values.

Developmental psychologists such as Kazmierz Dabrowski and Erich Fromm emphasize the role of the social environment in personality development. Personality is largely a product of the circumstances around us. Though genetics determine certain personality of one person, but it probably will undergo some changes due to the adaptation of society and to meet their needs. These demands could be financial, social, emotional, or physical. Normally a decision is directed through our relation to the things we have learned in the past, the experience we gain will be store in human memory. Evidence from numerous studies supports that children who have been abused are more likely to become abusers themselves. Proving that the environment determines the behavior.

An example from my own view, a person came from a healthy mental family background, however, she undergo a serious depression because she met an unsuccessful marriage and betrayal of husband, after her recovering from depression, she changed. She became someone who refused to trust others, emotional and being sensitive with little thing that happen around her. And one of my favorite examples of nurture is from the movie My Fair Lady. In which Professor Higgins takes Eliza Doolittle, a poor flower girl, and turns her into a lady of society. Her genetics didn’t determine the type of person that she was, but the environment that she had grown up in. But Professor Higgins changed the environment hence changing the person. Despite of the genetically influencer, environment also play a major role in personality. As time goes, society is modernize day by day which means it is getting more complex and there are tons of pressure exist in today’s world. Personality of a person probably will be altered by the pressure, one of a common environmental factor. A research done by James Flynn, a New Zealand-based political scientist noticed that IQ was increasing in all countries as the time flow, at an average rate of about 3 IQ points per decade due to environmental effects. However, none of a factor is strong enough to support this studies. It is important to recognize that nature in the form of inherited traits does exist but a person’s overall behavior is influenced a great deal by nurture or upbringing and the environmental factors involved in this upbringing. Several recent studies carried out on infant and child behavior have shown that there is significant evidence to support the fact that nurture strongly influences human development especially in the early years.

In traditional society, most parents encourage their kids to take part in extracurricular activities like learning music, dance or sports in accordance with the child’s talents and interests. The talents have been given by nature but they can only be developed into skills through the hard work of nurture. Nurture plays a very big role in early human development. Nurture in some way or another speeds up an individual’s capacity to study and learn new things. The part which nurture plays in human development has been demonstrated by psychologists in experiments in which stepping practice was administered to a cohort of inference for just a few minutes many times in a day. It was later that these children were able to walk several days earlier than infants who had not been given stepping practice (Zalazo, Zelazo & Kolb, 1972.)


Comparison Between Gene and Environment

There is a lot of researcher try to figure out whether genetic (nature) or environment (nurture) determined personality. In early years, there are a lot of debate about either nature or nurture affect personality the most. During 1920s, there are more consist and emphasized genetic factor, But during 1930s and 1940s,these view become not popular. This is because of the association with events in Nazi Germany. However, after that the interest in evolutionary and genetic contribution to human psychological is functioning. Nature refers to individual innate qualities, which also known as nativism whereas nurture refers to personal experiences which known as empiricism or behaviorism. Nature which is refers to gene where the personality and physical traits determined by it and will stay the same of where you born and raised. Nurture is refers to your childhood or the place and environment you raised up. Someone could be born with genes that give them a normal height, but with rigorous activity such as playing basketball will resulted in taller than normal height. Besides that, nature is the factor that activate an individual to commit crime are influence by biological or family factors. However, nurture is the factor that if individual commit crime, they are influence by social or environmental factors.

Throughout the world, there are many people share common features such as our structural characteristic which is the organ of body. That is also true that many aspects of psychological functioning are tied to our common evolutionary heritage. However, there are clearly and great different among people both in structural characteristic such as weight and height and personality characteristic such as sociability and tendency to anxiety. In approaching the issue of the genetic and environmental determinants of personality, our view was personality was not purely result of environment . Gene and environment are always interacting.

Inherit was so common among human as inherit through the action of genes make us so unique. Gene are made up by DNA which is sources of information. The information in the gene will directs the biological development toward an organism. The information carried in the gene is truly extraordinary. However it is important to know that genes do not control personality directly. As there are no ‘extraversion gene’ or ‘introversion gene’ and there is no ‘openness gene’. Although the development of most behavior are based on experience, but some specific behavior is directed by gene which carried out in biological processes. In the past, difference often made between instinctive and learn behavior where instinctive behavior was linked to gene functioning whereas learning behavior to nongene functioning. But this distinction today are seems to be misleading. This is because nowadays instinctive behavior are involving some degree of experience , particularly at critical period of the development. Besides that, most behavior of interest to personality are affected by multiple gene but not determined by a single gene. This can make it clear to understand why some characteristic genetically influenced may not run in families.

In comparison, environment affect personality differently. In the book of Nature and Nurture, Plomin states that there is a distinction made between shared environments and nonshared environments. Shared environment which is consist of the environment shared by sibling as a result of growing up in the same family where nonshared environment is the environment that are not shared by sibling growing up in the same family. For example , child rearing practice may be common across siblings is a shared environment. Siblings treated by different parents because of sex differences or life event unique such as facing financial difficulties when in the youth age of one children are nonshared environment . Besides that , there are a few more psychologist had emphasized that environment play an important role toward personality. For example , the behaviorist , John B Watson, had complete faith in ability of environment to shape personality. He states that he could raised and trained the children to any type of specialist. Which shows that environment affected peoples personality. People who joined with the people who have good traits, they will change their personality like them.

Last but not least, gene may have effect on the development of personality but environmental also play an important role on personality development and it can explain individual differences defenselessness. Timothy Goldsmith (1991) suggested that debate about behavior to one or the other is about as fruitful as arguing whether it is the sugar or flour that makes the cake. According to him or others biologists, Therefore, gene and environment are interacted and that is never gene without environment and environment without gene.


So, it can be said that both genetical and environmental factors influences an individual’s personality but environmental factors have strong influence compare to genetical factor. This is because environmental wise there are many factors such as family, peers, social community, nutritional factors and so on. Research states that heritability for behaviours are in the range of 30%, some specific cognitive abilities 40%, another 50% is about individual’s IQ which means 1/3 to one-half differences for behaviours is due to genetic differences among individuals. Whereas, the majority of the differences for most behaviours is due to non genetic factors which is the environmental factor. In other words, if a patient is diagnosed as any of the mental disorder where as another patient has nothing to do with any mental disorder. This is because environmental factor which means any of the environmental factor such as abuse or working stress capable of triggering the patient’s mind who is diagnosed as mental disorder.

Besides that, environmental wise nutritional factor can categorized as one of the major factor in determining individual’s personality because in today’s generation especially foods are containing all kind of chemicals which are capable of triggering chemicals within the individual’s body. For example, too much of sweets can cause the children to act hyper actively. Being hyper active is good but sometime sweets cause them to react over active which is not good because whatever they do in such state of mind will not be in proper or accurate yet some believe that hyper active is caused by genetics. Apparently it is not in all cases. So, parents need to be aware of environmental factors that cause their children to be hyper active. Relying just on genetical factors is not good because they should understand there is environmental factor that influence individual’s personality.

Same goes to some of the personality of an individual such as intelligence, mental disorders, and behaviours are not only caused by genetics but also caused by environmental factors. For example, if a kid is smart its not because the kid has special gene but maybe the parents educate the kid since young. So the cognitive of the kid have been trained since young towards learning process. There are many people whose family background is not good in education wise but they will the best student of the school or the university. It is a proof that environmental factor is important and we have to give more importance to environmental factor.

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