Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Nature-Nurture Debate

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_822-1


Epigenome, Gene by environment, Intelligence, Molecular genetics, Nature, Nurture, Personality


Among the earliest testimonials of human civilization is a deep intuition that some aspects of human behavior originate in our genetic makeup, while others feel like the result of upbringing or exercise. A central question posed by both ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and modern researchers in the twenty-first century deals with the impact of nature and nurture on human characteristics such as personality or intelligence. While Aristotle questioned how resemblances between parents and their offspring can be explained (Henry 2006), Sir Francis Galton (1869) as one of the first scientists already dealt in his famous work Hereditary Genius with the genetics of intelligence.

The nature versus nurture debaterepresents one of the oldest issues in the research of human behavior dealing with the question whether inherited traits or life experiences (e.g., upbringing)...
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The position of Christian Montag is funded by a Heisenberg grant awarded to him by the German Research Foundation (DFG, MO2363/3-2).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Psychology and EducationUlm UniversityUlmGermany
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation/Center for Information in Medicine, School of Life Science and TechnologyUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of ChinaChengduChina
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Patrizia Velotti
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational SciencesUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly