Biopsychology Discussion Response

Nature v. Nurture

To prepare for this portion of the dialog, the video Epigenetics located at:

The Nature vs. Nurture debate has been going on for centuries. The discussions experts currently have about these two influences on human development is now an “and” not an “either/or” one as science has demonstrated that each of us is the product of both our genetic makeup and the environment in which we develop. Despite this, both professionals and lay persons still hold differing perspectives on which influence has the greatest impact.   

Discuss in Part 2 of your post your perspective on the relative influence of heredity and environment–that is, which do you think has the greatest influence of the two after viewing the video above and reading this week’s assigned learning material–and how your view differs or is similar after reading the assigned material vs. before. 

Note: For the purpose of this discussion you are asked to stay away from the philosophical arguments of religion and evolution and instead focus on the bio-physiological concepts covered in the textbook.

Respond to the below post with 200 words minimum:

This has always been a complicated topic for me to firmly come down on one side or the other. Nurture and Nature both contribute a great deal to the human experience. On the one hand when one considers nurture’s impact upon an individual we can see how personalities and behaviors can shape a person, and as the assigned video this week managed to point out, behavior can even shape our our genetic make-up as well as influence the genetics of our descendents (Epigenetics, 2007). This can be seen from our dietary decisions, which can permanently adjust a persons genetics by either activating or deactivating specific gene sequences in a person and their descendents. As the video showed, it not only effected the weight of the mice, but it also effected the fur color of mice who were otherwise genetically identical (Epigenetics, 2007). Another aspect of nurture’s influence on a person which feeds into the concept of epigenetics, is the social learning theory. This theory can be explained by how humans will modify behavior upon becoming conditioned by stimuli (Friedman, 2010). One example of this from my personal life, which happened recently, was that I had received food poisoning from eating an egg role I ordered at a local Chinese restaurant. I immediately recognized a problem upon eating a couple bites of the egg role, that something about it made me sick. After a three day time frame filled with vomiting, aches, and severe headaches, I can’t even smell an egg role let alone eat one without feeling both sick and anxious. My mind and body thus are directing me to alter my diet, which in turn, depending upon the regularity and quantity such food typically has in my life, can potentially alter my genes.

On the flip side of the nurture and nature debate, behavior and personality can be influenced by genes and genetic similarities, as can be seen in cases of identical twins that grow up separately sharing very similar personalities, career fields, and even choices in spouses (Harris, 1999).


Epigenetics (2007, July 24). Epigenetics. Retrieved May 01, 2017, from

Friedman, Howard S., Miriam Schustack. Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research, 5th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 12/2010. VitalBook file.

Harris, J. R. (1999). The nurture assumption: why children turn out the way they do. New York, NY: Touchstone.

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