Relative Influence of Nature and Nurture

Analyzing Characteristics: Relative Influence of Nature and Nurture

The relative influence of nature and nurture to spiritual/religious beliefs have been of great concern to many researchers in the past. Despite the inconsistency in the research findings, it is clear that both the genetic makeup and the environment play a role in influencing the spirituality of individuals (Myers, 2014). According to Bradshaw & Elliso (2008), studies involving twins have shown the tendency to develop certain spiritual behaviors such as attending to religious services. In fact, the genetic orientation of an individual determines the proneness to develop an attachment to a certain religious orientation.

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Genetic makeup is associated with the ability or tendency to discuss religious teachings, observe religious holidays, and membership in religious groups. The argument is relatively verifiable because, despite the fact that people from different backgrounds can converge in a different environment, their religious orientation and spirituality remain the same (Bradshaw & Elliso2008). On the other hand, there are individuals who are considered to possess internal religiousness whose orientation is driven by the intrinsic motivations, which are genetically influenced. Lastly, personality traits such as openness are influenced by the genetic makeup and consequently influence the religious orientation. For instance, when one an individual is open and listens to diverse views, he/she can change his/her spiritual orientation.

A variety of studies supports the influence of nurture on the spirituality of an individual. The social and cultural environments influence the spiritual beliefs and orientations. An individual growing up in a family of the spiritually oriented parents is likely to take up the religious values and the social learning process (Myers, 2014). The parental values as influenced by the spiritual value determine how the children are brought up; hence, define their behavior and conducts. In addition, an individual brought up in a society with a predominant religious orientation can tend to take up the values and the teachings of that religion. A good example is demonstrated in the region and countries where the people are dominantly guided by the Islamic teachings, while Christianity controls others.

Introversion and extroversion are two personality traits. Introverts are typically shy, and self-centered, while extroverts are outgoing, overtly expressive, and open. The personality traits, in this case, are largely influenced by the genetic orientation. According to the study by Randy Holmes e al. (2012), introverts tend to have larger and thicker gray matter. The gray matter is located in the brain region responsible for abstract thinking and decision-making. As a result, the individuals tend to take their time thinking and making decisions, after evaluating the risks associated with taking certain actions.  The extroverts are said to have a smaller and thinner gray matter; hence, do not take a lot of time to evaluate the risks associated with their actions or decisions. The size in the gray matter is largely heredity. Therefore, nature is a primary factor influencing the personality of individuals.

Despite the little association of nurture to the personality orientation of an introvert or extrovert, some environmental factors that can influence the orientation of an individual to either of the two. The social orientation of a person can influence his or her personality (Myers, 2014). For example, when an individual grows in a family where self-esteem is highly regarded, he/she tend to develop positive attitude in oneself. Such an extrovert individual can take risks by making decisions on matters whose uncertainty is relatively high. On the contrary, when an individual comes from a family where mistakes and errors are not highly upraised, their self–esteem deteriorates. Similarly, when a child comes from a family or an environment where opinions do not count, they are less likely to be open and ready to take risks. Such individuals are, therefore, likely to take up introverts traits.

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Intelligence is a cognitive ability that enables one to behave and think logically. Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome and autism severely affect the intelligence and the ability to learn. For instance, Down syndrome as a genetic syndrome is an intellectual disorder. The syndrome is directly associated with the absence of genes in the chromosome leading to cognitive impairment. In fact, nutrition and the environmental factors contribute to shaping the intelligence of an individual. An individual subjected to stress, particularly during the childhood, do not have a well-developed cognitive capacity. Children suffering from poor nutrition during the early developmental stages exhibit relatively low intellectual capacity compared to those raised through the proper nutrition (Myers, 2014). On the other hand, the environment shapes the intellectual development of an individual. For example, children brought up in homes where reading materials are available, tend to develop relatively high intellectual capacity.

The discussion above demonstrates how important the heredity and environmental factors are in shaping one’s life and performance. The clear influence of the two in the spirituality, intelligence, and personality are important parts of human life. Heredity is genetic and natural, therefore, there are limited opportunities to modify it for better performance. However, it is clear that the environment can be altered, particularly for the children by shaping their spirituality, personality, and intelligence level.


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