Habit are small cues that reflects our personality. But where do they come from? Do you inherit your habits from your parents, or are they influenced by the environment? In this article, we will explore the mystery behind the origin of habits.
Do you know where your habits originate from? Are they influenced by our lifestyle and surroundings, or are they hereditary? Well, to unravel this mystery, we must understand what habits are.
Habits are a lot more than your daily routine. Your habits reflect your personality and guide you with the directions that you follow. They include everything from certain rituals of your morning routine to unique lifestyle choices that you make. In short, your habits define everything related to you!
Now the question is whether these habitual traits are ingrained in our DNAs or are they a result of certain environmental factors we face in our daily lives.
While discussing genetic makeup and human behavior, Dr. Francis Collins, Former Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, said, “Genetics loads the guns, but the environment pulls the trigger.” This quote prominently highlights the habit-forming capabilities of DNA and the role of genetic makeup and environment in shaping your behavior.
To unravel this enigma, we are going to delve into the age-old debate of nature versus nurture. Let’s find out if it is our genes, our nature, or our surroundings and upbringing that dictate the habits that we acquire.
Let’s move ahead and solve this puzzle. But first, let’s have a deeper understanding of what habits actually are and what role they play in shaping our behavior.
What are Habits?
An individual’s habits are the cornerstone of his behavior. It is a recurring practice that you perform. According to a scientific study, habits emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. This suggests that habits serve as effective neural shortcuts.
Our habits have a significant effect on our daily lives, they impact our decision-making ability, and control our actions and reactions. Habits include everything ranging from our social behavior, and way of interaction, to certain addictions and our temperament. Many daily choices that we make are unconsciously controlled by our habits, which shape our behavior in various aspects.
Types of Habits
Habits come in various forms, they can be positive, negative, and neutral.
Positive habits include practices such as getting early in morning, engaging in regular exercise routines, maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet, and following cleanliness standards for ourselves and our surroundings.
On the other hand, bad or negative habits manifest through actions such as overeating, being lethargic, and neglecting personal and environmental hygiene. Many individuals exhibit a blend of both positive and negative habits.
Now that we have a good understanding of what habits actually are, the question arises of how they are developed. To gain insight into this matter, we will dive into the Nature versus Nurture debate.
The Nature versus Nurture Theory
The nature versus nurture debate is a psychological debate exploring the influence of nature (your genes) and nurture (the environment) on the behavioral development of humans. The debate allows us to understand the role of upbringing and our genetic makeup in shaping our personalities.
Nature Perspective of Acquisition of Habits
When we are talking about nature, we’re basically referring to the genes that we inherit from our parents and ancestors.
According to nature’s perspective, inherited biological factors and genetic makeup play a major role in determining the habitual traits, behavior, and psychological characteristics of an individual.
The nature perspective suggests that traits such as personality, mental illnesses, and intelligence, are significantly influenced by our genetic makeup.
This point of view is backed up by numerous scientific studies and pieces of evidence.
According to scientific studies, our genetic makeup is determined at the time of conception, and this genetic build-up serves as a basis for all our habits, traits, preferences, and even our health conditions.
Nurture Perspective of Acquisition of Habits
Nurture’s perspective in this regard is based on the significance of environmental influences on the acquisition of habits. This means that the environment is the major factor that shapes our personality, habits, and behavior. According to this theory, we are born as “tabulae rasae”, blank slates, and our surroundings and upbringing make us who we are.
There are several environmental factors that play a role in shaping our personality. Some factors include family dynamics, peer interactions, social factors, cultural history, and our upbringing. Nurture’s perspective suggests that these factors and experiences are primary sources of molding an individual’s habits.
How Upbringing and Social Factors Affect Habits
Our childhood experiences, traumas, quality of parental care, and lack thereof have significant and everlasting effects on habit formation. Furthermore, our social interactions in our daily lives also determine our personality and patterns of behavior. In short, our behavioral tendencies are affected by many surrounding aspects such as role models, societal norms, peer pressure, etc.
It is important to note that the nurture’s perspective on the acquisition of habits does not disregard the role of genes entirely. Rather, it emphasizes the dominance of the environment in shaping our habits.
The Outcome of the Debate
We can not deny the relevance of the nature versus nurture debate with the query of whether habits are ingrained in our DNA. However, this debate suggests that the habits are not solely acquired through genes. They are influenced by a combination of both, DNA and environment.
Final Words – Genes as the Blueprint for Habits
While genes stand as the foundation in shaping our overall personality, we can not overlook the role of environment and our upbringing in the development of our behavioral traits. Our DNA contains various instructions that guide how our nervous system should be developed and how it should operate. The DNA also consists of information regarding the functionalities of neurotransmitters and the combination of neural pathways governing the behavior. It is a fact that genetic variations and mutations in specific genes can lead to variations and disturbances in behavior. Our genes are also involved in the regulation of emotions, which is an important aspect in terms of responding to various situations. This proves the influence of DNA in processing information, responding to stimuli, and interacting with the surroundings.
Certain genetic factors make us more likely to develop specific habits such as addictions or tendencies to take risks. This is particularly linked to genetic variations that increase the chances of certain habits taking hold.
Genetic makeup, not entirely, but potentially contributes to our habits. It provides a biological framework for multiple behavioral aspects including our temperament, mood swings, and social capabilities.
So, we can say that although environmental factors have an influence on our behavioral development, genes serve as the blueprint that shapes our personality from the beginning.