Nature And Nurture, Not Nature Vs. Nurture

1974 words - 8 pages

In a study conducted in 1983, researchers studied more than 350 pairs of twins in order to research if human personality traits were largely inherited or learned. Daniel Goleman, author of “Major Personality Study Finds that Traits are Mostly Inherited,” shares with his audience the parameters and results of this elaborate twin study. Goleman introduces his reader to Auke Tellegen, a psychologist and principal researcher on the long-term study, performed at the University of Minnesota, discovered that the human traits most strongly determined by heredity were leadership, obedience to authority, and even traditionalism. He would surely argue that heredity, more than influence of ...view middle of the document...

There are those that would mistakenly argue that it is a matter of heredity which determines morality. Richard Rorty, philosopher and author of “Born to be Good,” introduces his audience to a Harvard scientist, Marc Hauser. Hauser, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology and biology, ascertains that biologists have discovered evidence of a specialized area of the brain responsible for morality. He refers to this area as “a moral organ” or “a moral faculty” (D26). Hauser suggests that this specialized area is responsible for recognizing certain problems as morally relevant, therefore providing evidence that the roots of morality are deeply imbedded in nature and not nurture. This ideology suggests that morality is not a learned asset to life. Since morality is the ability to differentiate between those things that are “right” and those that are “wrong”, and due to the fact that different cultures have different moral attitudes, it would only be safe to assume that this area of the brain is not only responsible for morality but also adjusts due to standards that individuals were taught and therefore believe in.
Criminality has been a central topic of debate amongst those who argue that nature is of more importance than nurture. Richard Herrnstein, late psychologist at Harvard University and one of the founders of quantitative analysis of behavior, theorized that criminality is, unmistakably, inherited. In his book, Crime and Human Nature: The Definitive Study of the Causes of Crime, Herrnstein said, “Crime is that behavior condemned by society; it occurs despite the rewards and punishments that have been devised to enforce that condemnation” (14). He argues that people will continue to commit crime, regardless of severity, despite the notion that they will be punished. Herrnstein’s theory, however, does not take into account the many criminal offenders who do not repeat their actions or the criminal offenders who are never caught and therefore punished. Criminality is most definitely based on more factors than just genetics and heredity. A child whose parents are career criminals will most likely learn their parent’s criminal ways. Not only do we learn from experience but there are other factors that make committing a crime more than just a genetic influence. Opportunity, ability, and desire all have to be present to be able to commit a crime. If any of those three aspects are removed from the equation, crime cannot be committed, regardless of what genes a person possesses. Opportunity is not determined by heredity, but one could argue that ability and desire could have potential hereditary influences. This shows that both heredity and environment are both significant factors when it comes to criminality.
In regards to immediate, biological family, it is clear that experiences, and the way in which one is nurtured, greatly influence a person. Although humans consist of genes, which our biological parents are...

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