Humans are a strange animal. We are an amalgam of our parents’ genes. We get our blue eyes from our mother and our nose from our father. But where
do we get our preferences from? How do we form our likes and dislikes in today’s society? I think that Kimberly Powell, a professional genealogist,
Internet consultant, Web developer, and proud mother of three children, asks this question best: “While it's clear that physical characteristics
are hereditary, the genetic waters get a bit more murky when it comes to an individual's behavior, intelligence, and personality. Ultimately, the old
argument of nature vs. nurture has never really been won. We do not yet know how much of what we are is determined by our DNA and how much by our life
experience. But we do know that both play a part.” I couldn’t agree more. Mrs. Powel goes on to say in her essay:” Some scientists think that
people behave as they do according to genetic predispositions or even "animal instincts." This is known as the "nature" theory of human behavior.
Other scientists believe that people think and behave in certain ways because they are taught to do so. This is known as the "nurture" theory of
human behavior.” A very accurate description.
We are a product of many things. Our process of personality formation cannot be narrowed down to just one or two things. We are a conglomerate of our
parents as well as our surroundings. Every action we are involved in leaves an impression on us. These impressions are lessons that we either learn
from or ignore. Ryan Johnson of the AllPsych Journal explored the result of Homosexuality and looked at both sides of the issue with a nonbiased
stance. His exploration of both sides of the debate revealed many interesting things: “Biological theorists have found substantial instances of
anatomical, genetic, and endocrine evidence to support their argument. Experiments in biological research date back as far as the late 1930's,
beginning with the pioneering research of Alfred Kinsey (for the University of Indiana) on human sexuality. Kinsey had two goals for his tests: 1) to
find out how many adult males engaged in homosexual behavior, and 2) to suggest theories about it came to be . When asked if they had engaged in
homosexual sexual relations, a large percent of the population tested answered "no", however when asked if they had engaged in same-sex sexual
relations, the percentage answering "yes" nearly doubled. The experiment yielded that 30% of males had experienced at least orgasm in a homosexual
act. The results of this research became the widely popularized Kinsey Scale of Sexuality. This scale rates all individuals on a spectrum of
sexuality, ranging from 100% heterosexual to 100% homosexual, and everything in between. While establishing that as many as 10% of adult males
reported having sexual relations with a same-sex partner, this research did little more than to put the word homosexual into common language.[snip]
D.F. Swaab conducted the next noteworthy experiment in 1990. This experiment became the first to document a physiological difference in the
anatomical structure of a gay man's brain. Swaab found in his post-mortem examination of homosexual males' brains that a portion of the
hypothalamus of the brain was structurally different than a heterosexual brain. The hypothalamus is the portion of the human brain directly related
to sexual drive and function. In the homosexual brains examined, a small portion of the hypothalamus, termed the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), was
found to be twice the size of its heterosexual counterpart.” A very in-depth analysis of the nature aspect and the studies done to support this
In Mr. Johnson’s writings about the nurture aspect, it is made clear that genetics is not the only decisive element to forming ones personality:
“Behaviorists believe that some sexual and gender identification differences result from roles imposed by family and friends upon children, such as
the masculine and the feminine stereotypes. Problems with this are there is no evidence, social or biological, to support that homosexual children
were raised differently than were the heterosexual children. Also, with reinforcement of gender identification norms, one would be led to logically
deduce that all of the stereotype reinforcement would ensure a heterosexual outcome. While it is agreed that an element of gender ID is based on the
decision made by parents on how to raise the child, the other element is formed with the development of language skills, naming of sexual behaviors
and the naming process related to these behaviors. Gender ID is learned over time, and other contributions include the frequency of parental
interactions, tolerance of aggression levels, and the vigor of play during childhood. In this, another theory is acknowledged, the Parental
Manipulation Theory. This theory is that one or both parents are able to neuter and control offspring to promote their (the parent's) evolutionary
fitness, ensuring the passage of genes into the next generation. By selecting only heterosexual practices as acceptable, the parents are attempting
to promote their passage of genes . However the Kin-Selection Theory contrasts this. This theory states that it doesn't matter how the genes are
passed to the next generation, so long as they are passed along. For example, regardless of a homosexual outcome, the very similar genetic makeup of
siblings will still allow for the passage of the family genetics along to the next generation.”
When it comes to the process of our likes and dislikes, even our sexual orientation, we must take into account both nature and nurture. It is really
simple mathematics. 1+1=2. Nature + Nurture = personality.
Ryan D. Johnson: Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture, allpsych.com...
Kimberly Powell. “Are We Really Born That Way?” Online.
Thompson and Devine. “Homosexuality: Biologically or Environmentally Constructed?” Online.
Hoback, Wyatt. “Lecture 21. Sociality.” Online.