The relative contributions of nature and nurture are an apparent part of human development which makes us ask the question, are heredity and environment opposing forces?(Sternberg 100) The question of nature vs. nurture can be examined and can be attempted to be comprehended in many ways. Our stand on which theory is the correct one is obviously a matter of opinion and makes us wonder if only one of them is truly correct. Nurture seems to be the explanation that holds the most tangible evidence to support it as existing in our everyday life.
In psychological attempts to conduct experiments of genetic influences on personality and behavior in the environment psychologists have come to the conclusion that the best way is by using identical twins. There are strong similarities identical twins show in intelligence, personality, and many other characteristics, regardless of being raised in separate homes. They leave us with the conclusion that maybe there is some truth to the theory of nature. These findings from the studies done on the twins are what I find to be coincidences. I believe from my past experiences with my development as a person compared to my older sisters, we are a perfect example of nurture. The theory that poses enough evidence through studies and in my personal experience seems to be true.
My sister and I, though not twins, have a four year difference between us and are completely different people who are were raised in the same environment. We hold true to the theory of nurture for how we were raised effected the kind of people we are today. Nurture argues that who we become depends solely on the environment in which we developed in and also posses the idea that we are not born with any inherited traits that make us who we are today. Nurture is proved simply through the personality differences between my sister and I. I contain an extremely social personality; a people person if you will, while my sister does not inhabit a very social lifestyle at all. I value the strong significance of friendships that I have built in my life while the most valued aspect of her life holds her love for working with children. We have both internalized the lessons and virtues we were raised to make our own, yet, grew up to become completely different beings. Nurture was what we were a result of.
The early psychologist Erik Erikson attempted to develop a theory about personality development called psycho social theory of personality development. Obviously, Erikson is in favor of the nurture view he defined his theory as “how social factors interact with personality throughout the entire life span” (Sternberg 363). Personality development continues throughout the life span as a result of every new experience within that environment. How could this statement be a false if people make so many transformations throughout the stages of life as individuals? This is all a result living and learning through the interactions within your environment and constantly adding input upon input to continually shape yourself.
Through a process of assimilation we try to “restore cognitive equilibrium by incorporating new information into existing schemes” (Sternberg 340). The theory of assimilation, coined by psychologist Jean Piaget, supports the nurture theory by portraying the idea that each new piece of data or second of experience adds upon each other, constantly evolving a new equilibrium, or in this, case growth in ones self. Also, this process is lifelong. As a person progresses through life, he or she will continue to experience new things. One must act upon and accommodate themselves to this new stimuli (Sternberg 340). Whenever a person is introduced to a new stimuli, their reaction and adaptation will change that person, although it may not be noticeable. This is why Piaget’s view of development supports nurture. He has the belief that life is composed of changes in which everyone must go through. These changes parallel the theories of nurture in that everything that creates the human being we evolve as depends on what is learned in our life.
The question of whether humans are the result of predisposed genetics or if their lives and personalities are shaped by the surrounding environment does not have a correct answer that exists. Both views of nature vs. nurture hold a substantial amount of evidence supporting each idea about how we become who we are. With this idea comes the reality that in the end, both explanations work together to contribute to our development as people. Still, I feel that learned behavior fosters all the elements that make nurture the most prominent reason for our progression in developing our minds and personalities.