Nature or nurture?
May 3, 2023
The fact that personality derives from genetics stands as common knowledge, but the majority do not know that the atmosphere surrounding a person also contributes to their personality. People, settings, experiences and childhood all affect personality and can manipulate one’s personality in a variety of ways. In a school setting, the understanding of the origins of personality can control the path in which one takes for their life. Students at NC can use this to guide their choices and set their futures for success.
One’s surroundings can affect how one acts and explain specific characteristics they pick up. In positive environments full of uplifting people, an individual tends to focus on events and people beneficial to their health. Encouragement toward someone influences their desire to further support and help others. Motivation from the right people can urge one to realize their potential, as well as learn and reciprocate those actions to others.
“The people around me can affect my personality because, for example, most of my friends are athletes like me, and we’re always motivating each other to keep things going. This influences the people that I hang out with because it’s showing them that I’m here for them no matter what,” junior Luis Hernández said.
Environments cause major various developments by creating bias and experiences from the past to base future decisions and judgments. In school settings, influences become particularly important for how one’s school life will play out. Specific reputations and who a person associates themself with can completely set the tone for the entire high school experience.
Culture changes one’s beliefs, traditions and what they deem as socially acceptable and normal. Depending on the cultures and traditions, a plethora might value teamwork and harmony while others value independent traits and success. This comes along with location and where one grows up geographically. For example, those that grow up in social places tend to feel less anxiety when in public and show extra open-mindedness and extroversion. Also, in rural areas, people tend to possess higher levels of tolerance compared to those living in major cities with high traffic and tension.
Several people present themselves differently depending on their location in order to cater to those around them. Depending on the people they hang out with, they will act a certain way to make themselves appealing to others. This can also include changes in personality and looks. People do this to fit in and conform to society, which includes the fight with social media trends. The popular trends set by apps such as Instagram and TikTok enable society to believe that they must follow them to fit in. Idols and influencers can also further affect people’s choices, as well as how they appear.
“I think the physical environment that they are in can actually affect their personality, too, if the physical environment is not comfortable, cozy, or welcoming. A lot of people need to spend time on making their surroundings more comfortable for everything they need, even their mental health. It’s very important that the people around you support any type of things that you’re trying to do in your life,” NC psychology teacher Tina Guest said.
Intimacy can cause high levels of discomfort depending on relations with family and peers at a young age. Manners come with the enforcement of etiquette ordered at young ages. This carries politeness in social settings: anything from chewing with one’s mouth open to loud speaking in quiet areas such as the library.
Childhood homes and relationships in the household also affect personality. The style in which people raise children, and the overall childhood experience can completely dictate one’s beliefs and actions. Siblings also tend to become role models for younger children, and their actions can easily influence their young and impressionable sister or brother.
Morals play a vital role in the formation of personalities. What one values or sees as responsible can vary depending on the person and their experiences. This means that each person will react to situations differently according to what they see as morally acceptable or unacceptable.
One’s self-image influences how one speaks about others and themselves. Confident people tend to express additional positive notation towards others while they remain satisfied with themselves. On the other hand, insecure people might bring others down and project the ill feelings they hold toward themselves.
“The people you surround yourself with are the environment. It plays a key role in who you will become because you will always subconsciously adopt traits from your environment. It affects who you hang out with because the type of person you are will determine the people you gravitate towards,” sophomore Tresor Dokloh said.
Privilege and opportunity take a toll on environments, causing further variation in personality. If one seizes the opportunity for advanced education, the dedicated students around them may influence a person to habilitate the same diligence.
Traits that tend to link up with environmental influences include patience, anger, intimacy and mannerisms. Patience and anger can result from parental impacts, along with their temperament toward their children. In addition to habits and traits, different tastes in fashion, music, and art appear in the community surrounding someone. How individual acts can stem from age, generation, gender and sexuality.
“You should surround yourself with supportive people and people that have the same morals and goals that you do, otherwise you can be led down the wrong path. If you are goal-oriented, you should find yourself around goal-oriented people, not people who are stagnant and not learning,” Guest said.
Personality traits can change, as development and growth affect a person. What appears as cool now may not seem cool later, causing people to forget about their certain affinities toward popular items. Awareness of negative traits allows numerous to fix what they do not enjoy about themselves. This can range anywhere from friends helping friends to specialists assisting with unwanted mannerisms.
However, a change in personality does not always stand as a positive element. Sometimes, people change themselves to become increasingly appealing to others, causing the destruction of creative and unique personalities.
“The environment someone is in can change their personality. If they are in a stressful or dangerous environment, they can form traits to better adjust to the situation they are in,” Dokloh said.
Parts of personality do come from genetics and remain heritable. Along with their physical appearance, people obtain personality traits from their parents that they may or may not admire. These traits also apply to how one typically behaves, but their personality can change as growth in the mind and body progresses.