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Biology and Social Influence

There has been a hot debate on factors that influence a person’s personality. According to Salles (2017), some experts believe that genetics plays an indispensable role in facilitating inherent-acquired behaviors, while others claim the environment contributes significantly to shaping an individual’s personality. The debate raises the question of the rationality of the determinism theory. Flynn (2016) argues that the determinism approach suggests that all behaviors are predictable and have causes. He adds that free will represents an illusion because external or internal forces influence people’s actions. Indeed, the determinism approach is a vital tool in explaining the relationship between biology and social influences. Internal determinism embraces a biological perspective, which supports genetic inheritance as a critical instrument in shaping species’ behaviors. For example, physicians associate personality traits, such as neuroticism and extraversion, to the human body’s hormonal and neurological processes (Salles, 2017). Consequently, genetics influence people’s behaviors owing to innate characteristics inherited from the parents.

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Besides, external determinism proposes that behaviors emanate from factors outside the human body, including the media, environment, and parental guidance. In this regard, the in-depth analysis of the determinism theory leads to the nurture versus nature discussion. Nature’s perspective supports the argument that genetic inheritance and other biological elements influence individuals’ behaviors (Flynn, 2016). On its part, nurture’s school of thought emphasizes that external factors shape how a person behaves, thinks, and acts. Irrespective of the argument’s side, it is true that a person’s personality depends on either internal or external forces. For instance, culture determines the moral values observed by the individuals born and brought up in its context. Biology also relates to social influence because the hormonal and neurological processes affect a person’s behavior. Therefore, agreeing to the determinism’s viewpoint, free will is an illusion because people do not make their independent decisions but are influenced by other forces beyond their control.


Flynn, J. R. (2016). Does your family make you smarter? Nature, nurture, and human autonomy. Cambridge University Press.

Salles, R. (2017). The stoics on determinism and compatibilism. Taylor & Francis.

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