Analyse the Significance of Genetic Influences as Opposed to Social Factors in Human Development

Money advised the parents to change the sex of their child since penis reconstruction wasn’t an option then, he was a supporter of the idea that gender wasn’t predetermined genetically and was from the influence of the environment. At the age of 22 months Bruce Reimer suffered a surgery called orchiectomy which would remove his testicles and the sperm cord. He also started a hormone treatment that would change him into a girl; He became Money’s guinea pig called Brenda. The childhood of David Reimer i. e.

Brenda wasn’t great; whenever her mother tried to dress her with a dress she would tear it off. She also liked playing with her brother’s toys and was often bullied by her classmates in school. Despite these, Money made his case public and wrote: “The child’s behaviour is so clearly that of an active little girl and so different from the boyish ways of her twin brother” (1) ‘Brenda suffered terribly; no hormones were able to make her feel like a girl, for some time she urinated through a hole surgeons had placed in the abdomen.

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It was clear that she identified herself as male as she declared that when she grew up she would marry a woman, not a man. Besides a traumatizing childhood, her visits to Dr. Money were also highly traumatizing and tiring because she was supposed to visit him regularly. He would often show her and her brother pictures of people having sex and also forced them to take off their clothes and examine each other’s genitals (however these claims might not be true)’. (1)

The genetic influences of this story are that originally David was born as a boy and all the way through his life he wanted to be, from the quote above it states that his mother dressed him in dresses and made him play with dolls, but the only thing he wanted to do was play with his brothers toys and wear boys clothes. They also removed his testicles and he didn’t have a penis due to an accident, however even though he no longer had sperm or testicles and actually had a penis he still felt like a boy.

There were massive consequences of this story on the boy as he had so much frustration with the world and with himself of why wasn’t he a boy, unfortunately Brenda soon developed psychological problems. ‘She had a nervous breakdown when she was only a small child and by the time she reached adolescence she already had suicidal depression. When told that she was in fact born a man, she took the name David and decided to become a male again. She underwent surgery to remove her breasts and also had penis reconstruction. David married in 1990 and became a defender of sexual liberation. Sadly David Reimer continued to suffer right through till his death; in 2004, David committed suicide; the events that led to his suicide were harsh: his brother died by taking an overdose of antidepressants (he suffered from schizophrenia), he and his wife separated, and he had financial difficulties. Overall in this story the genetic influences are the most important as the nurture couldn’t change the way that boy felt e. g. even though he had the parts of a girl he still felt like a boy. That just shows that people who are born and feel like they are trapped inside someone else’s body e. . they are female but want to be male. They can be dressed in girls clothes get a job as a nurse have a husband and children but inside they still feel like they should be a male. The next story is a good example of the nature/ nurture debate as it is the differences between identical twins, and how nurture can affect the twin’s even though they can have the exact same DNA. Twins allow scientists to decipher to what extent is caused by genes and how much of it is shared environment. As identical twins, 19-month-old Sol and Luna share 100 percent of the same DNA.

Both girls have soft oval faces, tufts of curly brown hair, slight noses and large almond-shaped eyes. If Sol’s coat is taken off, Luna will notice, and she will eagerly mimic for hers to be removed. If one is dancing, the other jumps in without hesitation, and if one drops her cup you can count on the other to follow posthaste—neither likes to be left out of a potentially fun situation. (2) Although they both have 100% of the same DNA, their mother explains how they couldn’t be more different; Grace Castillo (mother of the twins), says they have different personalities. Sol is adventurous,” says Grace. “She was the first to reach milestones and is much more of a troublemaker. She doesn’t like to be smothered, and only will offer affection on her terms. Luna, on the other hand, is more sensitive. She’ll cry when Sol gets in trouble, and she is oddly more independent in public, showing less fear of strangers. ”(2) Their mother also admits that although she knows both girls are developing noticeably different personalities, she still believes that genes are playing a major role in how each child progresses in terms of their behaviors e. . especially when she compares their behavior to her own when she was the same age “It has to come from somewhere, and genetic inheritance makes sense when your child starts doing things you used to do at that age. ” (2) The story of these two twins’ demonstrates the nature side of the debate as even though they are totally different people their mother thinks it is still due to genes and that their personality traits are inherited from her and their father e. g. she states that some of the behavior of her children reminds her of her own at the same age.

However if this was true wouldn’t both girls have the same personality genes as they have the same DNA, so somehow their genes must have been nurtured in order for one child to have an adventurous behavior opposed to a shy, sensitive child. The fact that one of the twins is naturally a more stronger person as in ‘doesn’t like being smothered’ whereas the other twin ‘cries when the other twin gets into trouble’, suggests that there is a biological influence on personality development as both children have come from the same environment and unless either of the children have experienced traumatic events i. . child abuse which would be an influence of nurture. Then there is no possible reason for why the girls have different emotional traits as they will as we know have been given the same love and the same example from their parents of how to display emotions e. g. if they see their mother crying then that shows them that it is okay to cry when your upset, this then would explain why Luna is comfortable with crying and create a mystery of why Sol does not want affection from her mother.

Relating to Sol and Luna’s story is a similar but massively different story about two twins called; Daphne Goodship and Barbara Herbert. They first met when they were aged 40, Debbie was raised Jewish whereas Sharon was raised Catholic. Although the twins were raised apart from each other all of their lives they still had remarkable similarities; “We discovered we had a miscarriage the same year, followed by two boys and a girl in that order,” says Barbara.

Segal (the twin’s father) called Daphne and Barbara the “giggle twins” because they laugh and fold their arms the same way. (3) This story really does show the massive influence of genetics as these twins will have the same genes but have been brought up in totally different environments e. g. they were both brought up in different religious views, that affect their lifestyles i. e. church or mosque and their believes which they will work around to ‘please their god’ i. e. if they are Muslim they will work around not eating pork meat.

Overall these stories all represent different sides and give different evidence for the debate; the David Reimer story represents the importance of genes as the environment had no influence of the gender difference of the child; however various nurture factors caused him to lose his internal control and therefore started to suffer from depression. The story about the two twins Luna and Sol differently represents nurture as the genetics would determine both girls to have exactly the same personality traits as they have the same DNA. However the mother thinks it is still because of nature as the traits are similar to her at that age.

The last story about the second set of twins also supports nature the same as David Reimer as they have been brought up differently but look and astonishing act the same. This suggests that both nature and nurture are very important as there can be a massive part of nature e. g. gender and nurture social learning in the way you learn how to be a girl or boy. References (1) http://curioustendency. blogspot. co. uk/2011/06/nature-vs-nurture-case-of-david-reimer. html (2) http://brainworldmagazine. com/who-are-we/ (3) http://lornareiko. wordpress. com/2009/10/08/identical-twins-who-were-separated-at-birth-what-are-they-like/

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Analyse the Significance of Genetic Influences as Opposed to Social Factors in Human Development. (2016, Sep 29). Retrieved October 17, 2019, from
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