Friday, August 30, 2013

"Nature vs. Nurture" explained by a true authority... me.

I had the good fortune of landing in the world in a special position regarding the Nature vs. Nurture issue:

1. I was adopted at birth by wonderful parents, with whom I was very closely matched.  Take that in contrast with my 6'5", 260 lb best friend who was adopted into a Jewish family that topped out around 5'6".  The matching isn't very relevant, it just eliminates some confounding social factors.  Lots of kids were adopted at birth. Why would I have any more insight than anyone else?

Because in my mid 20's, I sought out and found my supposedly anonymous birth parents (there were people with access to grey market records that were willing to help at little to no cost).  My birthfather's last name was fairly uncommon so it wasn't like I had to find a "Steve Smith".  I think it took me about 1 hour of phone calls.  Then he made it simple to find my birthmother.  20 years later, I still have great relationships with them both.  It's kind of neat to have a parent figure without those first 18 years of baggage!

You can see how insight into Nature vs. Nurture is somewhat inevitable.  In fact, it was especially easy to see a clear division between the two sources of traits and characteristics.  In terms of personality and life course, my parents and birth parents have virtually nothing in common so there's never any question as to the source of the trait. 

So, to all my fellow Psychologists, here is one of my greatest contributions to the field:

Nature vs. Nurture
A classic question and argument.  Once spelled out, the answer appears obvious and the question almost silly.

Nature (i.e. our genes/DNA) provides:
 - Talents
 - Tendencies
 - Temperment

Nuture (i.e. learned from environment) provides:
 - Codes & Convictions
 - Conduct & Customs
 - Constitution & Character

So there you have it.  I hope this clears up the matter...

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