Genes vs Life Experience

This research explains how people believe that individual development and personality is mostly influenced by genes while others believe that life experience such as environmental factors and upbringing are more important in individual personality.
It explains the principles of personality traits. It. also indicates how genes influence the development and personality of individual as well as environmental factors  
Some people assert that your genes have far more influence on your development and personality than any experience you have in your life, while others consider life experience (such as upbringing and environment) to be more important. Discuss both sides of the argument and give your opinion.
Personality is said to be distinctive to an individual. The key elements that contributes to the development and personality includes genes, family, environmental, social and situational factors. It is difficult to measure what influences development and personality in a person.
Individual personality consist of five traits namely Extroversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Openness and Neuroticism.
Debate on what matters more in development and personality between natures (genes) and nurture (environmental factor). The question has been made on how much of someone’s DNA influences their development and personality. Some personality traits are more complex and the researchers suggested that our traits are influenced by both genes and life experience factors. They play a big role in forming an individual.
Many researchers has spent most of their times studying family, foster family, twins and adopted children in order for them to understand better how much a development and personality is genetic and how much is life experience. Some suggested that they both have 50 percent influence on development and personality
Some personality aspects are mostly influenced by genetics but this does not mean that life experience does not play a major role in shaping personality. They both play a vital role in shaping individual development and their personality. They cannot be separated from individual personality.
The Principles of Personality Traits
The following are the principles of personality traits that have been identified from some of the personality research. (John et al, 2008).
The maturity principle: individuals tend to be more agreeable, emotionally stable, and socially dominant when they are growing older.
Identity development principle: individuals develop a stronger identity when they attain maturity age which helps to be more committed and maintain their self sense. During individuals’ younger ages of their life, they tend to explore different roles and identities. When they age, they start to feel stronger to the loyalty that they identified and able to forge over the course of their life.
Plasticity principle: When personality trait is becoming stable, they are not static. They are influenced by environmental factors at any stage of individual life.
Role continuity principle: Role consistency results to continuity in personality traits instead of consistency in environments. An individual tries to become more agreeable, emotionally stable, and socially dominant as they grow older.
Genes have more influence on development and personality
Both nature and nurture is capable of playing a big role in personality but most of the studies stated that genes are stronger than life experience cause. Genetic factors represent the main source for long term continuity of individual differences in development and personality but also involve in changes especially in younger ages.

The above figure shows the major claims of social genetic theory, which shows the continuity and change in personality traits. Genetic and life experience factors contributes to personality continuity but environmental factors contributes to personality change both directly and it is mediated by genetic factors (Robert & Jackson, 2008).

The above figure shows the main claims of theory regarding the source of continuity and change in personality traits. Genetic or biological factors contribute to both continuity and change whereby life experience or environmental factors can only unfold the influences via biological changes (McCrae & Costa, 2008). Genetic factors often consider the larger amount of accuracy; cross times table and cross situation consistency measure of personality traits.
There is an estimation of genetic influences such as addictive and non addictive genetic factors.
The classic genetic point theory which is also known as dynamic equilibrium model indicates that there is a long term rank order continuity of personality traits to individual’s differences in genetically driven immutable individual set points (Ormel et al, 2012). Rank order continuity is lower in younger age than older.
Life experience has more influence on development and personality
Environmental factor serves as a main source of personality change in every stage of life but also contributes to a highly stability of personality difference throughout the life of an adult (Bleidorn et al., 2009). Environmental factors as compared to genetic factors contribute to individual differences in personality traits to increase across the lifespan which results to a decline of genetic factor across ages (Kandler, 2012).
Life experiences play a major role in adolescence age and young adults which contributes to increase in environmental continuity in adolescent, young and middle adulthood (Hopewood et al., 2011); Kandler et al., 2010.
It’s human nature to make use of their natural potentials of learning, self reflection and personal enhancement when developing their functional identity which are socially accepted and culturally integrated .Therefore, personality maturation might also depend on social and cultural influences (Bleidorn et al., 2013).
Some researchers emphasis the role of genes in early childhood personality development but assumes that individual personality stabilize after childhood. Therefore he stability of individual personality is stabilized by individual life experience. If the development and personality is most influenced by genes individuals should attain personality stability during their childhood life.
Environmental factors influences are disentangled into factors that are shared and those that are not shared by family members rose within the same family (Kandler & Bleidorn, 2015).environmental influences are assumed to be representing situational or short term stable factors that affect reversible changes or fluctuation around any set point which is, on the long run individual personality traits revert their enduring set point. Live events have the ability of changing daily routine of individuals and require new behavioral responses and individual adaptation.
Life experience is more stable in middle adulthood than younger and elderly individuals. the higher the environmental continuity such as working context has relatively high influence on plateau of rank order continuity of individual personality who are between 40 and 70 years old (Lucas & Donnellan, 2011).
Environmental influences are important on personality and change over individual lifespan. For example, sociagenomic theory personality states that the observed continuity of individual differences in personality is explainable by both genetic and life experience factors in some of social factors such as continuity in social roles (Robert & Jackson, 2008).they also stated that personality change is influenced by environmental process such as changes in individual life conditions due to major life transition or changes in social roles.
Genetic factors can have effects on life experience and life experience can also impact genetic characteristics. There is a relationship between individual genes and genes and behavior which can change overtime due to new experiences. In different circumstances, genes play a major role in determining individual behavior while in other situations life experience also play a major role in personality and development. Individual genes and life experience interaction are more important early development stage.
Human personality or characteristic are influenced by both genetic inheritance and individual life experience. Life experience can either be positive or negative influence to individual development and personality. Life experience is known to be a primary source that influences personality change of an individual. Individual age helps to determine the influence of genetic factors and life experience or environmental factors on human development and personality.
Bleidorn, W. 2009 patterns and sources of adults personality development: growth curve analysis on the NEO-PI-R scales in a longitudinal twin study. Journal of personality and social psychology, 97,142-155
Corey, L., Kenneth, S., John, M. & Chris, C. the genetic overlap and distinctiveness of nourishing and the big five personality traits
Hopewood, C. 2011 genetic and environmental influences on personality traits stability and growth during the transition to adulthood: a three wave longitudinal study, journal of personality and social psychology, 100,545-556 personality development across the lifespan: longitudinal analysis with a national sample from Germany. Journal of
John, O. 2008 paradigm shift to the integrative big five traits taxonomy in: handbook of personality: theory and research pp.114-158
Kandler, C. & Bleidorn, W. 2015 personality differences and development: genetic and environmental contribution. Retrieve from DOI: 10.10.10/B978-08-097086-8.25011-3
Kandler, C. 2012 nature and nurture in personality development: the case of neuroticism and extra version. Current directions in psychological science, 21,290-296
Luca s, aR. & Donnellan, M. 2011 personality and social psychology, 101,847-861
McCrae, R. & Costa 2008 the five factor theory of personality, hand book of personality: theory and research pp.159-181
Ormel, J. 2012 interpreting neuroticism scores across the adult life course: immutable or experience independent set point of negative effects? Clinical psychology review, 32, 71-79
Robert, B. & Jackson, J. 2008 sociagenomic personality psychology. Journal of personality, 76, 1523-1544

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