It’s hard to explain... Nature and nurture both play important parts in making an organism what it is. To make it easier to relate to, we’re going to use a person as an example, even though nature vs. nurture affects every organism.
In fact, to make it really easy... we’re going to use my friend, Ellie. Hi, Ellie! Now, let’s see how nature vs. nurture affects her.
First, let’s look at some Ellie’s physical characteristics freckles wavy brown hair Nature: the gene for freckles must be in Ellie’s DNA. Nurture: It’s also possible to get freckles by spending a lot of time in the sun Nature: Ellie’s hair is a result of her genetics. She gets her brown hair from her mom brown eyes slightly tanned skin Nature: She inherited the gene for brown eyes from her parents Nature: her skin is genetically quite light Nurture: although her skin is genetically light, Ellie has a tan from the Singapore sun
Tallness Nature: she inherited the gene for height from her parents. Nurture: Ellie’s diet also affects her height; without the proper nutrition, she wouldn’t be able to grow so tall! The way her body is built, as well as her facial structure are both also heavily influenced by nature. Many physical characteristics are more associated with our genetics, and therefore put the ‘nature’ side.
But of course there’s more to people than their physical appearance, right? We’ll see how nature and nurture affect Ellie behaviorally in a moment. But first, we’ve got some sorting out to do...
It gets tricky here. Scientists aren’t 100% sure on exactly how much nature and nurture affect psychological things like personality. Some believe that people are born ‘blank slates’ and pick up everything that makes them them as they grow up. Others think that things such as talents and IQ are actually passed on genetically from parent to child. It’s a long and complicated debate. But, more or less, scientists have agreed that both nature and nurture have major influence on our personality. So it’s both! For example, in research studies, identical twins who were separated at birth, although quite different, were still more alike personality-wise than two randomly chosen strangers. That’s a case of nature. But we also know that the ideas and morals that are given by our parents when we are children stick with us for the long run and affect us even when we are grown up and mature adults. That’s a case of nurture.
So, you see, compared to her physical appearance, Ellie’s personality, talents, and IQ are a lot harder to break down and analyze!
Her talent in basketball is partially because she is genetically built well for it (nature) but also because she practices often (nurture)
Her intelligence is inherited from her parents (nature), but she has also been getting a quality education (nurture)
Her great sense of humor and goofy personality is a result of being raised in a fun household with hilarious parents.
That’s a complicated one! It’s tricky because we know that things like humor are partially inherited from our parents but are also majorly affected by how we’re brought up. That’s why kids often have humors like their parents; they’re brought up around it and because it’s in their genes.
(she’s just Ellie)
Another quick example: a sunflower! Can you identify traits affected by nature and nurture? Yellow petals Nature: gene inherited from parents Number of petals Nature: gene inherited from parents Taller than the rest Nature: possibly has a gene for being taller Nurture: may get more sun, more water, or better soil
See? It isn’t a battle!Nature and nurture work together to make us who we are! I hope this helped you learn more about nature vs. nurture! Special thanks to Ellie Campbell!