Nature and Nurture in Determining Human Behavior

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The debate regarding nurture against nature has been around psychology for a long time. To comprehensively understand this topic, it is better to absorb the difference between nurture and nature. According to Sravanti (2017), “nature is the genetic predisposition or biological makeup of an individual, while nurture is the physical world that influences nature.” Nurture proponents believe that behavior is influenced by various environmental variables, such as a person’s location. On the other hand, nature exponents believe that behavior results from the hereditary and genes factor; offspring inherit their behaviors from their parents. Biological psychology, for instance, emphasizes the role of heredity and biological processes (McLeod, 2018). Conversely, behaviorism’s focal point is the environment’s impact on behavior. Regarding these two stances, nurture and nature both contribute to human behavior.

There has been a plethora of investigation regarding how nature and nurture interact to produce behaviors. The interaction of the two gives rise to behavioral genetics. This explains the science behind genes working with the environment to determine behavior. Several examples demonstrate how heredity, experience, or both can develop a person’s behavior. For instance, many questions arise regarding whether parents can genetically transfer obesity and hypertension to their offspring or the two health implications can occur based on appalling behavioral eating. Scholars mention that a child can develop obesity and high blood pressure because their parents have identical health risks. This can be true, but eating habits, inferior ones, can lead to obesity (Lee et al., 2019). Additionally, high blood pressure can be caused by uncontrolled personal habits. As long as nature is involved, nurture controls a person’s behavior, leading to developing health risks.

Furthermore, the topic of homosexuality is intensely contested between heredity and experience. Nature proponents argue that homosexuality is a hereditary or uncontrollable act arising from a person’s genetic composition. On the other hand, nurture exponents claim that homosexuality is a voluntary behavior or a choice associated with environmental variables, for example, a person’s interactions and location. This example is contentious, taking an instance where a child’s parents are not homosexuals, but the child has developed the same. This indicates that nurture (experience) is the cause of homosexuality. According to Cook (2021), a person’s sexual orientation is “32% due to genetic factors, 25% due to family environment, and 43% due to the specific environment.” This implies that environment and experience are crucial in determining a person’s sexual orientation.

Another example of how both heredity and experience contribute to behavior is that of occupation. In a case where a child pursues a career the same as a parent, some scholars can consider hereditary factors. Others may conclude that the child has undergone nurturing while growing up under a specific parent, and choosing the same career is due to learned behavior. For example, when a professional football player’s child becomes the same, it is attributed to both experience and hereditary. The athletic talent was discovered via endless practice and repetition or handed down genetically. Both expertise and heredity contribute to the child’s interest in their parent’s occupation. A precise instance is where almost all family members are professional athletes.

Generally, nature and nurture are both significant in determining behaviors. Genetically, offspring acquire genes that express their behavior. Environmentally and through experience, these same children acquire behaviors through learning. In typical situations, genes impact human behavior as they develop from childhood. On the other hand, human behavior influences genetics, which is meant to be modified by the environment. The verdict should finalize the debate surrounding nature against nurture that the two, if not equally, determine human behavior and lifestyle.


Cook, C. C. (2021). The Causes of Human Sexual Orientation. Theology & Sexuality, 27(1), 1-19.

Lee, A., Cardel, M., & Donahoo, W. T. (2019). Social and Environmental Factors Influencing Obesity. In Endotext [Internet]; MDText. com, Inc. Web.

McLeod, S. (2018). Nature vs. nurture in psychology. Web.

Sravanti L. (2017). Nurture the Nature. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(3), 385. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Nature and Nurture in Determining Human Behavior." March 9, 2023.

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PsychologyWriting. "Nature and Nurture in Determining Human Behavior." March 9, 2023.