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109

Nature nurture

OLogy Series
biology
card
109

Nature nurture

OLogy Series
biology

Thousands of traits make you who you are. Some traits, such as eye color, are determined mostly, or entirely, by genes. These kinds of traits are said to be due to nature. Most traits, however, develop through a combination of nature (your genes) and nurture (everything in your life—things like where you grew up, the people you know, and the foods you eat).

What a "Twinsidence"!
In the 1980s, Thomas Bouchard was curious about nature and nurture. So, he found a bunch of identical twins that had been adopted by different families. These twins had identical "natures" (the same genes), but had different "nurtures" (different life experiences). At the twin reunions, there were some incredible coincidences. Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were separated as infants. When they met at age 39, both were the same height and weight, had dogs named Troy, and had been married twice to women with the same first names. Some scientists see flaws in Bouchard's twin research since there have been studies of twins that have grown up in completely different homes, in different parts of the country, that have nothing in common except for their genes. But one thing everyone agrees on is that both nature and nurture play important roles.

Most of what makes you YOU is due to:

nature (your genes)

nurture (upbringing, environment)

both nature and nurture

Are you right?

Correct!

Everything from your personality to your intelligence to your dancing ability is due to both your nature and your nurture.

Nature: the traits that you inherit from your parents like eye color and hair color
Nurture: the things around you that shape your personality, like where you grow up, who your teachers are, and the places you've been
Significance: nature and nurture together shape who you are and what you look like

Image credits: Kelvin Chan.