Biology and Personality Development


Biological and genetic characteristics have an effect on the personality development of people. The influences can be molecular through the reaction of neurotransmitters in the endocrine systems. These are reactions of neurotransmitters and hormonal changes the are determined by a person’s genetic makeup. Equally, there is behavioral genetic explanation to personality development that is a function of the environmental set up on how people develop. Both explanations explain differences in personal development and subsequent behaviors. The role of genes and biological make up on personality development is a recent phenomenon. Previously, the debate on nurture was used to explain personality development. It argues that environmental factors are fully responsible for the personality development. Studies especially along behaviors and genes show otherwise.


The physical and genetic development of people has a psychological impact on people. The impact shows actively or passively in their personality based on complex relationship between biological reactions from psychological synapses. The hormonal reactions that come thereafter are often a sign of an organism trying to adapt to a threat or challenge. Therefore, there is a challenge that faces a person and based on their neurological schema; a reaction is initiated resulting into a biological process to handle the situation. The biological processes as such are not that linear and adopt a web like nature. One source of biological reactions is environmental problems that have the ability of inducing stress. The stressors have the ability of creating an imbalance between biomedical, psychiatry and psychological characteristics of the body. Until recently, environmental and biological factors were used to describe personalities in isolation. However, evidence has shown that both biology and genetics play a major role in personality development in people.

According to Boyce and Ellis (2005), changes in neuroendocrine system are as a result of stress, and organisms fight such threats through the process called homeostatic. Biological reactions to stressors can take various forms including autonomic and adrenocortical reactions. The authors note that the environment has the ability of interfering with the normal operations of a person and as a result, a complex set of reactions in the brain comes into force. The organisms thereafter experiences increased heartbeats, fear, change in metabolism and hormonal imbalance. Thus, the genetic makeups of an organism impacts the way a person reacts to environmental stressors.

Boyce and Ellis (2005) further note that there can be individual differences on how people react to stressors due to reactions between genes and the environmental influences. There are inheritable genes that respond to environmental factors effectively. However, the genes would not succeed natural selection due to less significance in parental environments. Nonetheless, the physical development has some of these characteristics. People exposed to highly stressing environments have extreme reaction syndromes. The reaction may work for or against the stressor. Equally, less significant reactions can have the ability of managing stressing situation hence passed through evolution.

Salk and Hyde (2012) introduce the argument of nature and nurture that is popular in social settings. Nurture arguments holds that biological and genetic makeups of person have no significance in the personality development of a person. It argues that the environment is fully responsible for personality development in people. Genetic makeup finds little significance in personality development. According to Salk and Hyde (2012), the impacts of genes vary in different environments. There are genes that react only to a risk of disease or high levels of stress. Thus, genetic makeup is selective, and, as a result, genes are attached to each reaction in personality development.

Jarvinen and Joken (2010) offer contrasting information on the utilization of genes to explain personality development along nature and nurture unlike Salk and Hyde (2012). Jarvinen and Joken (2010) argue that interaction of genetic and environmental factors control issues like temper and personality development. Family, twins, adoptions and parental behavior have genetic influence on personality. Genetic influences control personalities into two segments; as molecular genetics and as behavioral genetics. Molecular genetics studies brain metabolism and its effect in personality development as outlined Boyce and Ellis (2005). It is the interaction of hormones and neurotransmitters. It is all about the endocrine system. Behavioral genetic relates environmental factors to genes in personality development. Some genes relate to the environment and have a resulting effect on personality development. This occurs such that there is conditioning that may display different association in different environments.

According to Smith (2000), inherited information necessary for personal development is encoded in the DNA. The genetic coding theory claims causal relation between genes and biological processes. However, not all traits are encoded in the genes. As a result, biological explanations cannot fully explain the characteristics of personal development. These traits are inherited in a population if the individuals with the genes are phenotypically the same with the trait. According to Saudino (2005), behavioral genetic explanations split the observed phenotype behavior into genetic and environmental factors. Heritability shows genes visible after inheritance against traits that are shared in the family and those that are not.

Personality development starts at a tender age as an infant and child. There is, however, personality variations as children adapt to changing environments. This is an aspect of self regulation that explains the extent of behavioral adjustments relative to personality development. The biological components in play are genes, physiology and neurobiology. Self-regulation occurs at emotional, cognitive and thereafter behavioral levels. It brings the ability to control these occurrences at these levels. There are biological processes of self-regulation that develop specific emotional and cognitive behavior. From this perspective, children who fail to develop self-regulation are likely to be socially disruptive in the future. Specifically, the children achieve this by balancing serotonin and dopamine gene in the central and peripheral nervous system (Bell and Deater-Deckard 2007).


In conclusion, it is evident that biological and genetic characteristics have an effect on the personal development of people. The influences can be molecular, through the reaction of neurotransmitters in the endocrine systems and behavioral as a function of the environmental set up where people develop. Both types of explanation explain differences in personal development and subsequent behaviors.

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