• Question: Do you believe in nature or nurture?

    Asked by bubblesx to Rob, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by Dennis Relojo-Howell II.
    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Good question, and one that Psychologists have debated for a long time! I think the overall conclusion is that both play a role in our personalities and whether or not we develop mental health problems. Our experiences definitely impact on our mental health (for example soldiers who come home from war with post traumatic stress disorder) but there is also evidence that mental health problems are more likely if someone has a family history of them because it is in their genes.

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I think both are important but I think it is likely that our environment and how we interpret what is going on in the environment which really explains our behaviour and mental health. There are models of health and illness which look at the interaction between a biological vulnerabilty which is triggered by something we experience in our daily lives (e.g. life stress or how we interpret and respond to things in our environment). I’m not wholly convinced that we are purely driven by our genetics. There’s some evidence to suggest that there is a shared genetic vulnerability to a wide variety of mental health-related experiences, so it could be something about the stress/things we experience which determines what sort of mental health-related issues we personally experience (if at all)

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      That’s a timeless question!

      I’ll go for nurture. If you believe that your environment has more impact on your personality, you are more likely to improve yourself. Compare that with nature – you’ll just think that you’re stuck with it and there’s nothing you can do.

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      The age old question! I think there is both involved! To a certain extent, nature… for example, the place your born, the genetics you inherit, the family you’re born in to. But, nurture has a massive part to play too! Things can be changed through nurture. Take the examples- you can move from the place you were born, you could go to the gym loads and become super muscly, you can create your own new family!

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      Both. They work together, and for a long time we believed in a 50/50 share. Its’ becoming apparent that the nature, while essential might be overshadowed by nurture a bit – maybe more of a 40/60 share.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      Both are important – they interact to create the person we are.
      Our upbringing and experiences shape who we are – perhaps by triggering innate / genetic tendencies in us towards certain behaviours or patterns of thought. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t overcome these tendencies, develop, and change

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