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Personality: Nature vs. Nurture

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Charlie Coburn

on 17 October 2014

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Transcript of Personality: Nature vs. Nurture

Nature vs. Nurture
Genes shape behavior—a hypothesis that should define our view of not only mental illness and behavioral dysfunction but also human evolution.
Temperament -- the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person; natural predisposition -- is important, but how temperament manifests itself is likely influenced by environment

Understanding Personality and the Early Theories of Temperament
Hans Eysenck: Personality encompasses 3 traits
Raymond Cattell: Existing clusters of traits in certain personalities
C. Robert Cloninger: Defined personality as consisting of 4 temperament traits
Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, Reward Dependence, Persistence
So Nature or Nurture????
Although they do not entirely control personality and temperament as Kagan's points suggest, genetics create a foundation of qualities that environment then shapes into personality.
Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg (2004)
Bakermans-Kranenburg and her colleagues had screened 2,408 children (age 1-3) via parental questionnaire, and they were now focusing on the 25 percent rated highest by their parents (confirmed by the lab) in externalizing behaviors.
Several groups received parenting help; those with higher externalizing scores improved more than those with lower scores
Kranenburg's Experiment
Certain variants of key behavioral genes (mostly affecting either brain development or the processing of the brain’s chemical messengers) make people more vulnerable to certain mood, psychiatric, or personality disorders (ie- alcoholism, schizophrenia, depression)
An emerging (as of 2009) hypothesis suggests that these variations are not negative but rather make the individual's personality "high risk -- high reward"
High Risk -- High Reward
An influx of certain neurotransmitters can lead to inherent personality traits
Jerome Kagan
1972: Studies infants in Guatemalan villages
Not exposed to social contact for the first year of their lives but make full recovery by age 5
Plants idea that the first few months of an infant's life are not as important as previously thought
Kagan and the Infant Studies
1986: Kagan researched the importance of the first few months of life to test his ideas.
500 infants from an age of 4 months to 22 years.
Tests reactions to stimuli, labeling infants as either High or Low reactors.
Through follow up studies concluded that temperament is largely inherited.
Discounts attachment theory.
By: Charlie Coburn, Brendon Daugherty, Sarah Hahn-DuPont, Ethan Simon and Margot Vandenbroek
Ethical Concerns
Self-fulfilling prophecies
Genetics have a significant impact on one's temperament and personality
By telling a child their reactivity level, you can alter their own ideas of their current disposition changing their decisions and ultimately their lives.
Genes and Personality
Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care.
The Flower Metaphor
Twin and Adoption Studies
Identical twins are much more alike in personality than Fraternal
Similarities between Jim Springer and Jim Lewis
Oskar Stohr and Jack Yufe
Fraternal vs. Identical
Home environment vs. Genes
Despite the benefits of adoption, often adoptees share many more traits with biological parents than their adoptive parents.
Parents that change their children's reactive behavior are displaying to them that reactive personalities are not acceptable in society.
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