Is it true that your genetics (nature) make you who you are, or is it your life experiences (nurture)?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We cannot say that nature entirely makes us who we are or that nurture entirely does so. It is incorrect to say either of these two influences is the only thing that makes us who we are. Instead, it is a combination of nature and nurture that makes us who we are.

We cannot dispute that some of who we are comes from our genes. Some of us are born with the potential to be taller and more athletic. Those people might be more likely to be good at sports where height is often an advantage. Some of us are born with more musical or artistic talent. Some of us are born with different character traits, like our levels of patience and the quickness of our tempers. Some of us seem to be born with a higher susceptibility to alcoholism or drug addiction.

We cannot say nature is the only thing that makes us who we are. Clearly, our environment and life experiences also affect us. If we have the genetic potential to become tall, but we are underfed in our youth, we will probably not reach our potential height. If we are born with musical talent but are never given the chance to play an instrument, we will not realize we have this talent. If we are prone to alcoholism but live in a subculture that is strongly against alcohol and drugs, we might not have the occasion to drink or take drugs enough to become addicted.

There are very few traits that are completely controlled by nature or our environment. What we are is determined by a mixture of these two factors.

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