Nature/nurture and personality development

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Theories of personality development (and psychological theories in general) make implicit assumptions about the relative contributions of nature and nurture. By considering our own personality development throughout childhood and adolescence, we can identify the influences of these two factors.


Soon afterwards, the writer developed an irrational fear of heights.
Evidence indicates that specific phobias are actually multiply determined (eg, Thomas, King, & Muris, 2002), however, there is strong evidence for an observational learning component. A study by Gerull and Rapee (2002) examined the influence of parental modelling on the acquisition of fear and avoidance responses in young children, and found that responses were greater (particularly for girls) following negative reactions from their mothers.
While there is considerable evidence for a biological component in addictive behaviours such as smoking (eg, Hammersley, 1999), a study by Slomkowski, Rende, Novak, Lloyd-Richardson, and Niaura (2005) provided evidence for social factors in the aetiology of smoking behaviour. Slomkowski et al examined social connectedness between sibling pairs and its effects upon smoking in adolescence. They found that specific relationship dynamics (ie, social connectedness) underlie transmission of risk of smoking within sibships and concluded that social, rather than genetic processes, are responsible.
At around age 13 again, the writer found herself in an unattended sweet shop with a friend. The friend suggested stealing some sweets but the writer felt very strongly that this was wrong and persuaded her friend against it.
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