Nature or nurture?

I have been doing a bit of reading recently to try and help my own learning and trying to get a deeper understanding of the way my brain works. I have been trying to discover the best way to overcome my weaknesses and what styles of learning suit me best.

Something that has keeps cropping up in my own journey as a student is the nature verses nurture statement. Being in a college where some of the finest young talent is in the world I often can see how drastically different people learn and the speed in which they do so. This is also quite apparent in an environment which is so competitive. The amount of hours which each person practices to get similar results ranges vastly. There is such a thing as the 10,000 hour rule but this was formulated as a mean average of a wide population. Meaning that some only needed 1 hours of practice to match another persons 10 hours which was then averaged out thus meaning it isnt the most accurate fact to go by.

After reading many different articles it seems to be that nature has a much greater deal in our development than we usually give credit for but it can be in ways that we don’t commonly think of. One article seemed to think it was as much as 60%. For an example a person maybe more naturally talented because he has enhanced muscle twitching ability or extra large stretch rather than it just being cognitive ability. There is no such thing as the musical gene or the sports gene as it is a collective of different things put together which can give a person the edge. However a naturally gifted person that never works on their talent will never develop as someone who has been ‘nurtured’.

The phrase nature versus nurture is somewhat limited in its self. It would suggest that those who have had a wealthy evnvironment and access to good education would suggest that their abilty is directly related to their genes and could be passed off genetically, but this is not the case.

Reading these articles has made some tough reading on my behalf, similarly related to an interview and IQ test I had with a professor at the imperial college london.  They both mentioned a possible cap on a humans potential due to their make up and a link between all the congnitive faculties affecting each other. The articles have also talked about how dyslexia seems to limit ones abilty, due to it affecting memory and processing speed. It is something I would like to know more on. I come across a lot of music students who are dyslexic, it seems to have a much higher concentration than in a normal university so surely we this is contradictory to these studies? Many test have been done on identical twins versus adopted children to see if the environment has affected their abilities. Identical twins given the same test produced wide ranges of results despite having the same genetic make up and so this whole subject is very controversial.

When a person is young the genetic makeup is still forming so many environmental factors can influence a person’s development. I often wonder similar thing when I see students who have studied at junior departments, are they prodigies because they have had the finest teachers and pushed from a young age or are they there because nature has led them to those places. What about people learning instruments when they are older, how does this affect their brains? Would an older person with an aptitude learn faster than a young student working very hard?

Overall I think environment plays a massive part in all of this as the human brain has the ability to adapt, otherwise we will lose hope in trying!!! But I suggest you take a read of these articles and make up your mind for your self 🙂

Here are the links to the articles i’ve read.


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