Personality traits


Are personality traits hereditary or is it because of what goes on around us in every day life?


This question touches on the controversial nature vs. nurture puzzle. How much of our intelligence and personality is based on heredity (nature) and how much comes from our environment (nurture)?

The most definitive work on the question of nature vs. nurture comes from the famous Minnesota Twin study started at the University of Minnesota in 1979. Over the past three to four decades, this study has found pairs of identical twins that had been separated at birth. These pairs of twins have the same genetic make-up (nature) but were raised in different environments (nurture).

The pairs of twins were given exhaustive physical and psychological exams. The study yielded fascinating results. What was so startling was the similarities and not the differences. The twins often shared the same dreams and fears. It was found that leadership, shyness, aggressiveness, willingness to take risks, and conformity were based mainly on heredity and not on how they were raised. Whether a person was introverted or extroverted seemed to be passed on by their parents, and not on the kind of household they grew up in.

It takes about 100,000 genes to make up a human being. The mapping of the entire gene field of a human being, the Human Genome Project, was completed in 2003.

Scientists don’t really know exactly how much of what we are as humans comes from our parents (nature) or from our environment (nurture). There is increasing evidence that heredity plays a greater role than previously thought.

Intelligence is the controversial trait. It arises when authors or scientists try to define where intelligence comes from. The best-selling book, The Bell Curve, by Charles Murray, published in 1994, was very been much in the news because the author makes some statements about which races have higher or lower I.Q. scores and he ranked them.

So kids, if you fail a math test, it just might be your parents fault. You didn’t get the right genes! On the other hand, if you got an A, you can’t take credit for it. You got the right genes!

Try this little mental floss on your kin or friends. Question: A die is lying on a table. What number is on the side that is face down on the table.

Answer: Dice are always made with the numbers on the opposite sides add up to seven. One and six are on opposite sides, two and five are on opposite sides and three and four are on opposite sides. If the number on the top of the die is 2, then the side down on the table is 5.



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