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Every person has a list of attributes that characterizes them, like their way of thinking, the way they act, and how they feel. This is what we call a personality. Through the course of our lives, our personalities develop in many ways, and two of the main factors involved in this process are the environment and our genetics. Our genetics can mold our personality since they are the hereditary characteristics that we acquire from our family, essentially making us who we are. On the other hand, we have the environment, which can help to form or change traits in our psyche based on our life experiences. This has caused a debate between scientist and geneticist who are trying to figure out which of these factors has a bigger influence on personality. Genetics and the environment mold our personality in different ways, but our surroundings can be more influential to our emotional development than our DNA because of our growth or family environment, our society, changes in adulthood, and our health.
A person’s character starts to form since early childhood, making the growth environment a critical part of this process. Mairi Levitt wrote on “Perceptions of nature, nurture and behavior” that during a study, she interrogated a group of people about adoption, and most agreed that since kids look up to their parents, if someone develops hostile tendencies it has more to do with the way they were raised than their genetics. Besides the parenting, there are also other people responsible for a child’s emotional formation. Teachers have a lot of influence, and they can leave a mark that can last years in a person’s memory. In that same article, Levitt told the story of a person that had a negative experience with her teacher, to which she added “Those who related negative influences presented themselves as active in response, not necessarily at the time but later in their lives. The adult had to deal with all the influences (negative or positive) and take control.” This means that people that had bad experiences in the past would use them in the future to shape their behavior, basically managing the situation and molding their personality.
Another factor that’s responsible for our environmentally related personality changes is our society. The people we surround ourselves with can actually change the way we think, act, and feel. Some of the changes can be good, as well as they can be bad. As humans, we face certain situations that can manipulate our emotions, causing changes in our personality, like bullying, peer pressure, and discrimination. In the article “Perceived Discrimination and Personality Development in Adulthood” we see that bigotry can cause adverse effects in a person’s wellness, such as anger issues and sensitivity. Those who suffer from it have high chances of becoming hostile and depressed later in their lives. This can also provoke susceptibility to mental or emotional strain.
With age come more situations that can harness stress and affect a person’s personality. People used to think that, excluding those who suffer from dementia or have some type of brain damage, their psyche would’ve stayed the same as when they were young as they aged. However, as we evolve with age, so does our personality. The association in regards of general wellness and emotional behavior was more common for the youth than for elders. The study revealed that people who had higher levels of stress, nervousness or agitation for more than 4 years had a bad mental and physical condition, and those that showed more positivity were healthier.
Changes in personality through the years, especially negative ones, have been linked with different types of illnesses. In the article “Future Directions in the Study of Personality in Adulthood and Older Age” Leszko, Elleman, Bastarache, Graham, and Mroczek write that negative emotional behavior can lead to low psychological efficiency in elderly people, leading to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer. This conditions cause irreversible effects to the people who suffer from them. The patients that were more likely to develop them probably had more situations coming from outside or environmental sources.
In conclusion, as analyzed in the essay, the environment can cause changes in our personality that can overpass the way our genes affect our personality development. One of the main reasons for this is our growth environment, which is where we start to develop our personality. Our society also participates in this process by giving us friendships to learn things from, and presenting us to situations like bullying or discrimination. These events can affect us later on during adulthood, when people go through identity issues and start to develop health problems. These health issues can lead to bigger problems related to our psychological wellbeing, like dementia and Alzheimer. Since these conditions have irreversible effects, a good thing to do is to surround yourself with positivity, because the more negativity you have, the more susceptible you are to develop them.
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