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- May 2022
Is our personality inherited, or are we products of our environment? This is the classic debate on nature vs. nurture. Are we born with a given temperament, with a genetically determined style of interacting with others, certain abilities, with various behavioral patterns that we cannot even control? Or are we shaped by our experiences, by learning, thinking, and relating to others? Many psychologists today find this debate amusing, because no matter what area of psychology you study, the answer is typically both! We are born with a certain range of possibilities determined by our DNA. We can be a certain height, have a certain IQ, be shy or outgoing, we might be Black, Asian, White or Hispanic, etc. because of who we are genetically. However, the environment can have a profound effect on how our genetic make-up is realized. For example, an abused child may become shy and withdrawn, even though genetically they were inclined to be more outgoing. A child whose mother abused alcohol during the pregnancy may suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, the leading cause of preventable mental retardation, even though the child was genetically endowed with the possibility of being a genius. So the best perspective may be that our genetic make-up provides a range of possibilities for our life, and the environment in which we grow determines where exactly we fall within that range.
Our genetic make-up is pre-determined. Our external and even certain genetic mutations but the environment plays a huge role on how each of our personalities are shaped, validated, molded and how we perceive ourselves and accept ourselves.