Nature vs Nurture

Have there been any studies on if a child is taken from their parents at a birth and raised in foster care, and if their parents have problems such as depression, alcoholism, anxiety, if that child will grow up to be like them or be normal?

Millions. That and with twin studies; monozygotic twins share all the same genes and if raised separately you can see their concordance rates (what percentage of twins both have disease X).

Depression, alcoholism, and anxiety are all highly heritable. Environment can effect many of these too, but those are pretty strongly established as having a physiological basis. Often it’s lilke: genes give a predisposition to something, with the right or wrong upbringing it can be expressed or muted.

I can’t really respond to your question, but with statistics suggesting that one in four people experience mental health problems in any given year, your use of “normal” may seem questionable. Not having a go, just saying.

mabye this would be better off in “general questions” can a mod move it there?

thelurkinghorror is right. That type of thing is just decades old Psychology 101 stuff although studies are still going to this day. If you want to skip to the end a ignore the if’s, and’s, or but’s, I can tell you the general conclusion.

Nature is much more powerful than many people believed and wins out over nurture on most traits. I don’t know if that is good or bad but it always made sense to me. Most everything about you, one of the most complex creations in the known universe, was built to just work in whatever environment it would be exposed to based on billions of years of evolution. That includes everything from the way your heart beats to your ability to acquire language. Humans think we are powerful and can do anything we choose but we nothing when it comes to influences like that. Each individual comes with their own set of genetic and biological strengths and weaknesses that can be somewhat muted or remediated by environment but generally cannot be overcome completely. We are just experiments in an evolutionary tree that is seeing what works best in the present environment.

The nature/nurture debate was always unbalanced in nurture’s favor just because of the number of the factors for each involved and yet nature still wins for most people and most traits. Nurture does not just include things like parental involvement or the quality of your schools, it also includes things like disease, malnutrition and trauma. You can certainly take a child and screw them up badly by forcing them into slave labor for years but I don’t think that is what most people have in mind when they hear the term ‘nurture’. Most people have a much more limited range of environments and those differences are not all that meaningful as it turns out.

Almost everything from the type of music you like, your tolerance for thrill-seeking and even your academic interests seem to be mostly pre-determined. Twins separated at birth studies show that but any parent with multiple children should also know that already. They are just born the way they are and there is little you can do to change that outside of a narrow range.

I don’t specifically know this website, but it says things like (bold are my notes):

“Concordance rates for schizophrenia are about 50% among monozygotic twins **(identical)**and 17% for dizygotic twins (fraternal, either M/F, M/M, or F/F)
This suggests that it is highly inheritable.

“Bipolar depressive disorder is more common among monozygotic twins (0.67 concordance) than among dizygotic twins (0.20 concordance).” Multiply by 100 for the percentage, so 67% and 20%.

Other website may give slightly different numbers, but the point is that genetics plays a large role, and chances of twins having the same disorder is high, even if separated at birth.

Twins are a bad example because they are basically exactly the same genetically but children are not exactly the same genetically as their parents.

Also if everything is so pre-disposed due to genetics then how come people say eugenics is not scientifically valid anymore?

Because of this:


I missed the bolded distinction on first reading. Does the OP want information only about children who never leave the foster care system or on all children raised from birth by someone other than biological parents? I’m assuming the latter since very few infants stay in foster care, but I’m not sure that’s a safe assumption.

The effects of a childhood spent in foster care are going to be very different from those experienced by adoptees, and I’m not sure if there have been any studies on genetic influences in that population.

Did you read my posts? Do you think that sharing 50% of your genes somehow makes a disorder more prevalent? The point they illustrate is that identical twins and fraternal twins are mostly* raised the same, but identical twins share more of their genetic material. If it were 100% nurture, there would be no difference.

Eugenics is not scientifically valid for the same reason that communism is not an valid economic system. The run contrary to human nature and create ethical dilemmas.

*Parents are more likely to dress identical twins the same, give them alliterative names, similar gifts, etc. But these can’t explain the large differences in concordance rates.

I’m not interested in data about identical twins

You’re not interested in science? Got it. And if you read you’d realize it’s not specifically about identical twins, but also fraternal twins, and regular siblings.

If you’re looking for “studies on if a child is taken from their parents at a birth and raised in foster care” then the sample size is lower because that situation is rare, but the same results are given: nature and nurture are both important, but for most things nature is a stronger influence.

Well frankly, that is the dumbest response to an honest answer I have ever heard on this board I have been here for 13 years. You obviously don’t know much about psychology in general or the effects of genetics and biology on it. Identical twins separated at birth are the best natural model we have to separate out the nature versus nurture arguments. The results are in and it is both self-evident and striking.

Can you explain why you aren’t interested in those because they are directly relevant to the question you were once interested enough to ask?

Your question is poorly phrased but the overall answer is still the same. Nature is more powerful than nurture when it comes to traits like alcoholism, mental disorders as well as non-medical diseases plus almost everything else. You can’t change a persons core personality through any upbringing or environment. You can change the way it is expressed however. That may mean that an adopted child that would have owned a pawn shop in Oakland, CA grows up to be a Wall-Street trader because a family in Greenwich, CT chose him as baby but the skills required for both of those trades are largely the same.

The competing model for the strong nurture argument was the tabula rasa model which was in vogue in U.S. psychology through the 1960’s and even later in some circles. It is complete that crap led to many harmful experiments. The idea was that all humans were born with exactly equal ability and all you had to do was foster it to make them whatever you wanted them to be whether it is math or chess experts or sports stars. It simply isn’t true and it is easily falsifiable but you still find remnants of that idea floating around to this day.