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Personality: Nature of Nurture?

Personality: Nature of Nurture?
By Mustafa Sultan • Issue #27 • View online
Hello friends,
Is your personality due to nature or nurture?

Personality Tests
Ever since being introduced to the Myers-Briggs personality test — I’ve been obsessed with this whole scene.
Along with your personality type, you’re given some strengths and some areas to improve on (weaknesses).
My apparent strengths are being strong willed, strategic and energetic. My weaknesses are being stubborn, arrogant and intolerant.
I generally agree with this.
Horoscopes ⭐️
The more I looked into the Myers-Briggs personality test however, the more unconvinced I became of it.
It turns out that the test was magicked up by two laypeople without much grounding in anything scientific. A lot of psychology (especially the fun stuff) seems to be junk science.
Something Legit
The most legit personality test looks to be the HEXACO personality inventory.
It splits personality into six factors: honesty-humility, openness, conscientiousness, emotionality, agreeableness and neuroticism.
Nature or Nurture 🌍
In general (excluding major trauma) — personality is almost all genetic.
The best recent estimates are that personality differences are about two-thirds due to genetic differences and almost not at all due to differences in early household environment. This means that if two people have identical genes, they’ll likely have rather similar personalities even if they’re raised in different households. Also, if two people have entirely different genes, they’ll have quite different personalities even if they’re raised in the same household.
The H Factor of Personality
The Great Paradox 🤔
Whenever I ask my podcast guests why they think they’ve succeeded — they always mention their upbringing (nurture).
Dr Nadine Hachach-Haram BEM said her secret weapon was grit and perseverance (which came from growing up in Lebanon). Professor Shafi Ahmed concurred — growing up as a Bangladeshi immigrant in London gave him a good work ethic.
So studies say that personality comes from nature (genetics) — but people think it’s all nurture (environment). What gives?
A Theory 🧐
My theory on this—
The external: It’s more popular to say that personality is all due to nurture. It lets people believe that they too can be like their heroes.
The internal: It’s a better story to tell yourself. To think that your parents/unique circumstances/mentors have moulded you. You didn’t just win the genetic lottery.
#028 The Benevolent Leader 😇 — Professor David Lomas (Vice Provost Health UCL)
All the best,
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Mustafa Sultan

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