Heredity Determines Personality

Heredity could a certain extent influence a person’s personality.

Personality is defined as the sum total of beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and values that distinguishes an individual. Each of us has unique personalities which distinguish us from the others. Even twins who look alike and are reared in the same environment differ in personalities. A number of factors determine a person’s personality. These include environment and genetics. Our personality is the product of the interaction of these two factors. It is not exclusively molded by the environment or genetics but a combination of both.

Hereditary, or the genetic transmission of characteristics from parents to offspring, determines personality to a certain extent. Hereditary characteristics manifest at birth such as hair and eye color, skin color and body type. Hereditary also includes aptitude or the capacity to learn a skill or inclination for a particular body of knowledge. It establishes the limits of one’s personality traits that can be developed. This aptitude creates the desire for a person to learn something. For instance, the son of a sports hero like a boxer superstar is expected to inherit the genes of his father. His capacity for growth in the boxing arena is immense because he is born with the ability. Or, take the case of a daughter of a writer. Obviously, with her genetic predisposition to write she will be more inclined to study or learn writing compared to other endeavors such as sports.

Behavioral geneticists, Dr. David Reiss and colleagues from George Washington University, conducted a thorough and long-term study on the effects of genetics to a person’s personality. The result of their study revealed that “it seems that genetic influences are largely responsible for how “adjusted” kids are: how well they do in school, how they get along with their peers, whether they engage in dangerous or delinquent behavior”.

Behavioral geneticists believe that the genes do not act as the exact blueprints that determine every detail of our personality and behavior; rather, they think that heredity or these genes reveal through a person’s actual interactions with the environment. The genetic make-up of a person brings out particular reactions to things and people which in turn determine the person’s personality.

To further explain this, it is important to know how DNA works. The DNA of a person is responsible for a certain kind of nervous system such as one that is alarmed at new situations, one that wants new sensations and one that is slow to react. In different situations, children react according to the one that would be most suitable for their genotype or genetic endowment. The ability to choose reactions though increases as a person grows older.

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