The topic of nature vs nurture is as basic as it gets when it comes to studying human development. I specifically remember studying this topic in 8th grade science, it seems almost elementary. My thinking was always that a person is the way they are because of their own personal genetics, right? Why would the fact that I live in a different area than someone else change who I was. I never really gave the topic much thought after that. I was in an environment that i fit in very well with. My community was full of kids that all shared the same interests, passions, and humor as I did. My friends were all very similar to me, we all shared similar taste in music, TV, and sports.
This topic never crossed my mind again until college started. I have two roommates, both of which I have known for a while through mutual friends. My roommates live no more than ten minutes away from my house, and all three of us went to different high schools. We are all very similar, we all played lacrosse, we all love watching sports, we all like rap music, and we all like to socialize. However, the more we got to know each other the more i realized there were differences between us. They prefer more mainstream music while i prefer a “harder” genre of rap. Both of my roommates grew up playing action packed video games while I mainly stuck to football, basketball and baseball games. Even the food that they eat and the clothes they wear differ sightly than what I’m used to. There is a long line of slight differences in our interests, although they aren’t major, they still exist. I began to get curious as to why my group of friends had different preferences than two other very similar groups of kids that lived a township over. The reasoning lies in the argument of nature vs nurture.
According to Explorable.com, Nature vs nurture is a very old debate. Those who side with nature believe that a person’s identity is predetermined in their DNA. They argue that a persons genetic identity doesn’t only determine their height and color, but their interests and personality as well. The nurture siders believe that a persons personality is determined by the environment they grow up in. They argue that life experiences and interactions are what ultimately determine who a person is.
The thought that I am who I am because of where I am from was kind of odd to think about. I knew that this mainly applied to groups of people from different states or countries, but could it apply to groups of kids living only five minutes away? The answer is almost certainly yes. While we were all male athletes living in suburban neighborhoods, our upbringings were different. I had a brother who exposed me to the harder genres of rap, football video games and different styles of clothing. At the same time my family showed me specific types of food, certain etiquettes, etc. In turn, since I was very young I had preferences slightly different than other kids my age. As I began to grow up, these interests passed on to my group of friends and were developed more completely as we became older. They weren’t just interests, they made us who we were. They gave us an identity unique to our environment. In contrast, both of my roommates had friend groups that shared a common interest in a different genre of music, or a different type of video game, or a different style of clothing. These examples are not very significant, but they perfectly illustrate the impact that an environment can have on a person. Now i realize that when my roommates don’t like a song that my friends and I enjoy, it’s not that my music taste is bad. Instead, it’s a matter of our preferences preprogrammed as a result of our upbringings.