Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nature or nurture

From Focus on the Family

For decades, behavioural scientists have been arguing over whether environment or genetics plays the bigger role in shaping the human personality.

In the early 20th century, child developmentalists were convinced that babies were born devoid of personality and that experience set the course for human behaviour. One of the most influential proponents of that view was Dr JB Watson. He told mothers that they could produce any kind of child they wanted, simply by manipulating his or her environment. Dr Watson said: “Never hug or kiss your children and never let them sit on your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when you say ‘goodnight’, shake hands with them in the morning, and remember that when you’re tempted to pet your child, that a mother’s love is a dangerous instrument.”

Millions of parents accepted those notions. But we now know hereditary factors play a greater role. In fact, recent studies indicate that 70 per cent of the personality is influenced by the genetic characteristics with which we are born.


From TODAY, Voices - Friday, 10-Sep-2010
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