Are we born good, evil, or neither? According to the National Institute of Health, the answer would be yes…kinda. It is understood that human behavior is subject to genetic variation. Our personality, intellectual ability, emotional level, and mental health are all, to a large extend, are genetically inherited. Studies on twins specifically aid to the finding that how we act hinges on multiple variables, one of which is genetics. Identical twins are born with the exact same level of tolerance for certain chemicals in the brain, what differs between twins is their ability to push themselves past their limit. A teacher here at Judge, Dr. Dasch Houdeshel himself has a pair of twins. In class he shared a story about their skiing adventures, he noticed that one of the twins, who always feels like she comes in second to her counterpart pushed herself to stay standing longer than her sister. They both felt the exact same amount of fear when barrelling down the mountain, but an environmental factor, a competitive sibling relationship, pushed her to overcome her fear. While people are all genetically predisposed to acting in a certain fashion, it doesn’t mean we can’t change the makeup of our brain and change as a person.

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October 19, 2023 5:18 pm

There are a handful of things that are certainly determined almost entirely by nature – these are typically mental illnesses/disorders which come from genetics (the two most prominent by far being Autism and ADHD). I think that almost everything else can be chalked up to nurture – including how people deal with and exhibit these genetic disorders.

Reply to  Aidan
October 19, 2023 5:23 pm

Mmmm that’s not technically true? The majority of disorders are actually genetic or have to do with those foundational ages. For example, someone might have a family history of people who struggled with eating disorders. While that in it of itself might not be genetic, the things that cause people to develop eating disorders can be. It’s like a weird big puzzle.

October 19, 2023 5:15 pm

The environmental factors can certainly alter what we are predisposed into doing due to our genetics. We start to really develop our personality (the fundamentals of it) between the ages of 7-10, so everything before then is our genuine foundational blocks on how we make decisions later in life. You mention “While people are all genetically predisposed to acting in a certain fashion, it doesn’t mean we can’t change the makeup of our brain and change as a person.” This is completely true- In tumultuous families, it can be really hard to develop those blocks in a more healthy manner, learning better coping mechanisms. From a very early age, we learn by imitation, when a baby sees their parents fighting while in an argument, they are more likely to fight when in conflict. This imitation and basic observation os one of those things that can change us and how we develop. I personally, think that there is a nice balance between nature and nurture, but nurture has a bigger influence on nature.

Since I’m a big nerd when it comes to psychology and stuff like psychodynamic theories and ideas, I’d love to hear more and maybe help expand on other information.

Last edited 7 months ago by Olive

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