Nature vs Nurture

In a controversial new book titled Blueprint: How DNA makes us who we are, psychologist Robert Plomin argues that genes are key to shaping our personality.

Nature vs Nurture
nature vs nurture

Main titles

  • The dominant influence over what influences our personalities, has always been a point of contention.
  • Environmental influences being the dominant source promotes egalitarianism.

According to Plomin, traits are inherited and do not depend on parental upbringing.

  • Half of our psychological differences including both personality and mental abilities are due to our genes.
  • The greatest proportion of the remaining half cannot be attributed to environmental influences that can be predicted and planned for.

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“We now know that DNA differences are the major systematic source of psychological differences between us. Environmental effects are important but what we have learned in recent years is that they are mostly random – unsystematic and unstable – which means that we cannot do much about them.” - Robert Plomin

  • Plomin argues that all other things being equal genetics has the biggest impact on personality than other factors such as home environment and schooling.

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Blueprint, with a new afterword: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are (The MIT Press)
  • Plomin also argues against confusing between group and individual differences when it comes to personality traits. Generally personality traits amongst groups can vary due to environmental reasons (for example discrimination), however individual differences within distinct groups vary due to heritability.
  • Plomin argues that there are no clear cut definitions for mental disorders such as depression, and that the issue is quantitative rather than qualitative. For example, some people display greater variations on the spectrum of DNA related differences than others. And even though symptoms of mental disorders can me ameliorated with various therapies, a cure doesn't exist since there is no disorder, as such.