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Personality Changes over the Lifespan

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Personality Changes Over the Lifespan

The nature-nurture debate interests me as I think about the identical twins in my class during secondary school. The influences of genetics and environment are reflected on the twins, Oasis and Kevin.

Oasis and Kevin have been my classmates throughout my six-year secondary school life. They had excellent academic results as they always ranked the first and the second in school. It is due to their personality, curiosity. Since they are curious about knowledge, they raised questions frequently in lessons.  Another example is that they were both introverted. During recess time, they would do revisions rather than chatting with their friends. They seldom expressed their opinions. Heredity can give explanations to these two examples. Since they are identical twins, which mean they are from the same fertilized egg and share almost the same genes, their personalities are inherited. Genetically determined temperaments are present in infancy, which means dispositions to respond to the environment in certain ways (Clark & Watson, 2008). Therefore, genetics explains why Oasis and Kevin had the same personality of curiosity and introversion.

Did they have the same personality throughout their secondary school life? Of course not, their personalities gradually changed after they joint varied outdoor activities at school. Oasis became the committee member of the house while Kevin became the committee member of the Biology Club. Oasis became less introverted and more extroverted. He communicated with more people and others agreed the ideas he proposed. This greatly increased his self-esteem and he would like to express his view more often. However, Kevin became more introverted as he spent less time with his friends. He liked to spend more time doing experiments in laboratory as teachers appreciated his findings on biology.

 After studying psychology, I understand the changes in their personalities, which demonstrate the social-cognitive learning theory. In social-cognitive learning theory, the process reciprocal determinism, which is a two-way reaction between aspects of the individual and the environment, shapes the personality traits (Carol & Carol, 2012). From the example of Oasis, he found that he had more friends after he communicated with more people and others agreed with his opinions. Therefore, he was confident to tell others his ideas and gradually became more extroverted. While, Kevin became more introverted as teachers appreciated his hard work on doing experiments. Then, he spent less time building up his social networking by meeting more friends. In non-shared environment, Oasis and Kevin contacted different people and things in their own activities. As a result, difference of their personalities becomes more obvious.

Parental child-rearing practices are believed to be the strongest influence on children’s personality development (Carol & Carol, 2012). However, I have doubts to this idea when considering the case of Oasis and Kevin. Since they grow up in the same family, they have received same child-rearing style from their parents. Although there may be slightly different between their child-rearing styles, it should not result great difference in their personalities. Under this circumstance, parental-child rearing practices should not be the strongest influence on children’s personality. Instead, the non-shared environment is the contributing factor that changes their personalities. Compared peers with parents, power of peers may be greater than that of parents in the case of Oasis and Kevin. Since his peers accepted Oasis’s ideas, he would like to express his views more frequently. Eventually, he became more extroverted.



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