Inherited traits

Nature vs nurture

What are traits?

Traits are certain characteristics we have that make up specific physical qualities. These are traits we inherit from family members. There are also personality and behaviour traits which determine how we react to situations, these are the ones that create lots of debate amongst people as it leads to the question of nature vs. nurture.

Inherited or acquires – nature vs. nurture

Is our personality and behaviour part of our genetic make up or are they traits we acquire from people who have a high influence in our lives, such as parents, teachers, friends, pop stars and from others we meet through out our lives.

Do these traits stay static or do they change through time as we learn and experience more?

Acquired traits indicate environmental factors have shaped how we have developed, the type of situations we have faced or circumstances we have had to overcome. These are factors that have made us acquire and not only take specific traits, but also determine how we conduct ourselves in situations we find ourselves in.

There are certain personality and behaviour traits we think are inherited and the easiest way to observe this is by looking at a set of it wins. They will look alike with similar features and have certain behaviour patterns they share. But do they share these patterns because they have been brought up in the same environment or because they have inherited them? Are their personalities similar to that of other family members or a factor of how they have been raised?

Who can give us the answer

Behavioural genetics is a field of study that looks into the role our environment and genetics plays in shaping our behaviour. It draws information from various other fields such as biology, psychology, genetics, statistics, ethology and epigenetics.

Of the 3 types of traits – physical, personality and behaviour – physical traits are unquestionable inherited. We are born with certain features that can’t be changed, yes we can mask them or disguise them, but they would always be underneath.

Contact lenses can be used to change the colour of our eyes, but the original colour would always be there, we can dye or bleach our hair, but the new growth would always come through the roots, we can cover freckles with make up and we can workout to get leaner muscles through regular exercise with the help of a supplement like a hydrolyzed protein powder read a review on this type of protein powder at We can do all of this, but it only masks what we can’t change.

Personality and behavioural traits on the other hand is something we cannot only mask, but can change. Take anger as an example, is it a trait that has been acquired or one that has been inherited? Do we just mask these emotions like we do the physical traits mentioned earlier or can we change the way we respond in situations that bring out that anger? The same question can be asked about sadness and happiness. Are we susceptible to these through our genes or our environment?

Anger, sadness and happiness are emotions we encounter and are sometimes required to mask. In trying to do this, it may feel like we are going against the grain, but it can be done through observation, perseverance and repetition.

So far, no one has been able to convince us all on the nature vs. nurture question. There is definitely a lot that can be put down to nature which is then moulded further by our environment.

The debate will continue for a long time to come.
Behavioural and personality traits