The Nature and Nurture of Behavior To what extent are we shaped by our heredity and to what degree by our life history? The conclusions-that nature is crucially important and that nurture is crucially important-are central to today's psychology. Genes provide the blueprints that design both our universal human attributes and our individual traits. Evolutionary psychology sheds light on what's universal, and behavior genetics on our differences. Evolutionary psychologists study how natural selection favored behavioral tendencies that contributed to the survival and spread of one's genes. For example, in explaining gender differences in sexual behavior, they argue that women most often send their genes into the future by pairing wisely, men by pairing widely. Critics maintain that evolutionary psychologists make too many hindsight explanations and underestimate the role of culture . Behavior geneticists explore individual differences. Using twin, adoption, and temperament studies, their research indicates that both nature and nurture influence our life courses. We are
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