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Nature Vs. Nurture: Adoption Studies

Presentation for research paper arguing the nature versus nurture debate and how it ties in to adoption and twin studies
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Destiny Yeomans

on 26 November 2012

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Transcript of Nature Vs. Nurture: Adoption Studies

Adoption and Twin Studies Nature Vs. Nurture The Nature Debate: Genetics Refers to the genetic composition of a person
DNA is the clear forerunner in determining physical characteristics
A combination of the biological mother and father will determine the child's genetic make up.
Because identical twins share exact copies of genetic material, similarities between the two can be traced back to genetics. The Nurture Debate:
Environment Refers to the upbringing of a child (the way they were raised)
lessons and morals they learn from their parents, the values they adopt from those they come in contact with, and their own personal convictions.
has nothing to do with genetic influence
those who believe in nurture believe that you can completely resist genetics and become a new person A Little Bit of Both Genetics may define physical traits almost entirely, but when discussing behavior, morals, and personality, a combination of nature and nurture is a better approach
Our new knowledge of DNA only gives rise to more questions.
A look at adopted children proves that a combination of genetics from their biological parents and the upbringing by their adoptive parents influences who they are. Who Am I? Why Do I Feel This Way? Why do I believe the way I do? Why do I react like this? Who do I look like? The questions may be simple, but the answers are quite complex. Main Idea Twin studies are used to obtain a better view of the nature versus nurture debate. They are proof that inherited genes combined with family upbringing and key life events compose our characteristics. Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging The “researchers were interested in the relations between phenotypes and genotypes of twins reared apart…” (Haimowitz para. 14).

These individuals will experience different upbringings, but because of their genetic material will still have similarities.

A detailed study of these resemblances drives scientists to believe in the nature debate. Haimowitz, Avi G. “Heredity Versus Environment:Twin, Adoption, and Family Studies.” Twin, Adoption, and Family Studies. Rochester Institute of Technology, Nov. 2005. Web. 18 Oct. 2012 John Watson, a psychologist, said... "Give me a dozen healthy infants...and I'll guarantee to take one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I want... regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies...and race of his ancestors" (qtd. in Watson 373). Watson, James D. "Who We Are: Nature Vs. Nurture." DNA: The Secret of Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. 361-94. Print. Our knowledge of the human genome, according to Matt Ridley, "enriches the arguments from both ends until they meet in the middle" (qtd. in "Who Do We Think We Are?" para. 18). Watson, James D. "Who We Are: Nature Vs. Nurture." DNA: The Secret of Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. 361-94. Print. What do you mean? The biological mother and father may have been introverted and shy, but the environment that the adopted child was raised in can influence those genetic traits. If the adoptive parents were also shy, it would enhance those traits the child was born with. However, if the adoptive parents were outgoing and extroverted, the child could be taught the same way, and the genetic traits would be suppressed. Why do I care? Medically Speaking... Medical history can help trace diseases, such as cardiac problems, obesity, and bone and joint complications
Schizophrenia is often studied among adopted children. It is thought that disorders of this nature can be passed down to children, but upbringing can often suppress the symptoms so the disorder never actually appears.
Children who come from schizophrenics, but were adopted and raised by parents who did not suffer from the disorder, most often do not express the disease.

This shows that genetics does not solely comprise a person’s personality. Personality affects health The University of Georgia did a study on centenarians, individuals who live to be 100 or older.
Researchers from the study found that neither race nor social status played a contribution in their longevity. Instead, they "shared many positive traits that are ingredients of adaptability--- Optimism compassion sense of humor belief in God indifference towards death stubbornness aggressiveness suspiciousness satisfaction with life (Hendrick para. 2) Hendrick, Bill. "BEYOND 100: The Secret: Roll with the Punches Personality Traits Such as an Ability to Accept Life's Setbacks Have Been Found to Play a Key Role in Long Life." The Atlanta Journal Constitution 1 Mar. 1998: M;04. ProQuest. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. It was not their DNA that helped them live such a long life. It was their personality, outlook on life, and determination that helped them survive.

Despite what our genes are, our personality still plays a key role in our lives. Intelligence It has often been wondered as to whether intelligence comes from biological parent or if intelligence depends of a child’s ability and willingness to learn. A study headed by Robert Plomin shows the correlation between biological parent cognitive abilities and their children with that of adoptive parent cognitive abilities and their adopted children.

The scientists that worked on the study were seeking evidence that children resemble their parent’s cognitive abilities, even if those children were adopted. The results showed that “...correlations between biological parents and their adopted-away offspring increased during middle childhood, early adolescence, and late adolescence”
(Plomin et al. 443).

It appears, by evidence of this study, that there is a correlation between biological parents and their children in terms of intelligence. Religion? There is a side to the debate that cannot be based on scientific evidence, but that is valuable nonetheless. An interview with Stacie Current, an adopted woman with very little knowledge about her biological parents, reveals another facet. She takes the stand on finding her true identity in her faith. When asked if she struggles to find her identity because of her adoption, she replies, “…if I did not know Jesus I would definitely have a struggle with my adoption” (Current). Because of her faith and belief in Christ, she feels her identity is in Him, not in her genetics. She states, “My mom took me to church faithfully until I was [seven]…when I received Jesus. This changed my life and set me on the path I am now.” Current, Stacie. Personal Interview. 7 Nov. 2012 WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??
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