Mental Models - Nature vs Nurture 👶
I find myself pondering nature vs. nurture almost daily.
What is Nature vs. Nurture?
Nature vs nurture is a long standing debate in science about the balance of factors that determine why we are each the way we are.
To what extent are you shaped by your genes?
To what extent are you shaped by the environment you’ve grown up in?
Is it nature - genetics, are we born that way?
Or is it nurture - our environment?
This is a complex debate, and it turns out it’s not so much nature versus nurture - but nature with nurture.
Why is this interesting?
I always find myself wondering about the massive mix of factors that make up ourselves and our lives. It’s fairly easy to imagine the impact of nurture - the influence of our parents or caregivers and our friends for example.
Sometimes it’s harder to see the impact of genes. Some would say in today’s society we tend to downplay the impact of genes:
“our intellectual mainstream is committed to” …[the false idea of the blank slate, which is] “the idea that the human mind has no inherent structure and can be inscribed at will by society or ourselves”
What’s more, nature and nurture can interact. More complexity is added when you consider epigenetics - the study of how your behaviors and environment affect the way your genes work.
I like how Gabor Mate puts it:
In the real world there is no nature vs. nurture argument, only an infinitely complex and moment-by-moment interaction between genetic and environmental effects.
Want to go deeper?
🔖 This New Scientist post is a great deeper dive
💎 I like this gem:
It’s not that good parenting produces good children,
it’s that good children produce good parenting.
📖 The Nurture Assumption is a long but fascinating read, it’s worth it.
🤔 What’s your natural happiness level? Research shows a “happiness set point” that might be inborn:
The baseline level of happiness, or set point, is higher for some people than for others. In other words, some of you are naturally, or dispositionally, happier than others.
📚 Biographies are fun to read, but best considered fictional:
if we look at one particular person, it’s easy to come up with a story about how the home environment (the critical, demanding mother, the ineffectual father) shaped the child’s personality and produced the messed-up grownup we see today. That kind of post hoc speculation—unprovable, undisprovable—is the stock-in-trade of biographers.
🙃 To flip it all upside down read the mind bending The Case Against Reality!
🧠 Build your latticework. Revisit related models: