Which is more important, nature or nurture?
Nature is clearly as important as nurture. Inheritance and environment interact to help us as human beings discover, accept, refine, adapt, adopt and balance our physical, emotional, intellectual and social strengths and weakness.
Nature is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception, e.g. the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual. [cited: McLeod, S.A. (2007). Nature Nurture in psychology]
According to the citation above, we will see both factors play significant roles, complementing each other and working dependently.
Nature serves as the mother of all kinds of things. Living things or creatures cannot be made without genes. DNA functions as nature's mold. Every human being has about 25, 000 genes, unique genetic codes which differentiate individuals. This results in identity. As we all inherit different dominant and recessive genes, a diversity of at-birth uniquenesses is passed on. In other words, physical characteristics are influenced by genetic inheritance. This is the reason why identical twins are considered special.
Let's now discuss the significant role of nurture. While nature functions as the mold, producing and personalizing individuals, nurture acts as a mold refiner, shaping and supporting personality traits and also controlling behavioral traits.
Simply said, we nurture what nature has provided. For example, some genes cannot be activated without environmental inputs. We cannot develop normal sight, for instance, without exposure to visual stimuli.
In addition, psychological characteristics and behavioral differences are the result of learning. An infant learns language by imitating his parents' words, and without proper education, we don't even know what aptitudes we possess; as the expression goes, "We learn by doing." Without guidance, rules and laws, bad behavior and crime increases.
We all have basic human needs which must be met to grow up, and we need emotional and educational support to become mature grown ups.
Nurture can also be seen as a series of windows of opportunity - a chance to strengthen inherited intelligence and a chance to reflect, adapt, and adjust inherited vulnerability. Here, medical advances and technological developments interact.
As identical twins, my sister and I have identical genes. We share a number of similarities, such as personality traits, academic interests, religious values and even specific illnesses. However, although we were raised together and studied together until we graduated, we have many differences, such as life expectations, social values, lifestyles, marriage history, tastes in things and professions. It's obvious that environment matters.
To conclude, genes are like a recipe, proteins are ingredients, and organisms are the finished products. That implies that without nature, there would be no life. In the same way, lacking environmental inputs functioning as stimuli or supporters, some creatures would grow incompletely and immaturely.
As psychologist and behavioral geneticist Nancy Segal has said, "There is no behavior that is totally genetic. Everything has an environmental component."