Environmental Traits in Humans

Written by tessa holmes
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Environmental Traits in Humans
Environmental traits determine personalities. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

The nature vs. nurture debate, which may also be called the genetic vs. environmental debate, is an argument over the effects that genes have on the personalities of individuals compared to the effects that the environment has on personality traits. Environmental traits are the traits that are not caused solely by genetics, but by the habitat and experiences of individual human beings.

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According to the "nurture" principle, the natural habitat of a human being influences the personality traits he will accrue. Habitats vary across the world, including urban and rural locations, and these factors are said to create environmental traits in individuals. Where a person lives shapes and forms who he becomes because his environment is the main determinant of his personalities and individual characteristics.


Parenting, the upbringing of a child, has a large impact on the environmental traits that the child develops. According to the scientists who follow the "nurture" principles, parenting styles greatly determine which personality traits are formed as infants and are retained as adults. Parents are considered as factors of both the nature and nurture positions because they contribute both genes and behavioural stimuli for their children.


Besides a human being's natural habitat, some scientists and psychologists believe that incidents play a large role in the personality traits of individuals. Incidents are still considered as environmental influences and environmental traits may occur as results of traumatic or pleasant occurrences in the lives of infants, children or adults. This theory holds that events are environmental stimuli that determine and alter personality traits.

Examples of Traits

Environmental traits vary and not all humans have the same traits. For example, a person's environment may determine whether or not she has the trait for criminal behaviour or perhaps homosexuality. Surroundings may also determine whether or not a person has the trait for intelligence or craftiness. Traits vary and there is still debate in the scientific world as to whether some or all of them are caused by environmental influences, natural genetics or both.

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