Western Governors University
The debate over nature versus nurture is still going on after over 140 years. Do your genes determine who you are and all of your traits, or does your environment shape you? These are the questions that researchers try to answer when conducting research in this field. Most people believe that we are a product of the combination of genetics and environment, but determining to what degree each of those factors shape particular traits can lead to fascinating research (World, n.d.).
The debate over nature vs. nurture today focuses on what is an innate characteristic, occurring despite any outside influence, and what characteristics and traits are determined by our experiences and surroundings without a genetic cause. An example is intelligence. Is a person smart because they were born that way and genetically wired to be bright, or is it because intelligent parents raised him or her, went to quality schools, and given opportunities to learn? Conversely, if a person from a “good family” grows up to be a criminal, is it because they were hardwired to be that way, or some external influence that altered the personality traits of the individual? Traits like hair or eye color are known to be genetically linked, but behaviors, preferences and abilities are researched to see whether genetics or environment play a bigger role.
One research method that is particularly useful in the nature/nurture debate is the twin study. Multiple twin research studies exist worldwide to look at these questions. Twin studies are a beneficial tool to use in this type of research because monozygotic (identical) twins share 100% the same genes, and fraternal, or dizygotic twins share half their genes, therefore they can be used to help determine if traits are hereditary or not. Identical twins who are raised together have more similar traits than fraternal twins who are raised together, and this points to heredity, or nature as the cause. The...