Hereditary Traits and the Influence of Environment

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Inheritance is an important factor in shaping a person’s physical and mental characteristics, but its power is not absolute, nor is it as big as it is often assumed.

The presence of a gene in the cell mass that someone has inherited from a parent does not yet guarantee that the trait represented by that gene will be fully manifested.

Hereditary traits during life fall under the influence of the environment, which can enhance or make them difficult to manifest.

Inheritance Does Not Determine Height

Inheritance provides the opportunity for a person to reach a certain height, but it does not determine it. This possibility can be realized only if a person enjoys quality food in which there is enough animal protein, vitamins and mineral salts.

If these ingredients are lacking in food, man will remain of relatively low stature, despite carrying within himself a different hereditary basis.

The Effect of the Cultural Environment on Intelligence

The influence of the environment on the manifestation of hereditary traits is particularly clear in the example of intelligence.

If a person develops in an environment that activates his intellectual functions to the maximum from the beginning of life, then it is certain that he will develop to the extreme limits of his possibilities.

A lukewarm, unstimulating, poorly cultural environment will not create a motivation in a person to fully develop his intelligence.

Inheritance Does Not Determine a Person’s Mental Qualities

Inheritance, therefore, does not determine one’s mental qualities, it only enables them. Hereditary factors are more of a disposition, inclinations for personality development in a certain direction, than determinants-determining forces that inevitably drive personality development in a certain direction.

Psychic Expressions: The Inheritance of the Temperament and the Form of the Temperament

For the most part, the way a person expresses his psychic contents, his aspirations, thoughts, and emotions is inherited.

We express them with facial expressions, speech, gestures, i.e. a set of expressive movements and automatic, semi-conscious actions that we classify as psychomotor. Inheritance also greatly influences the form of temperament; it is a way of reacting of the psychic apparatus to various external and internal stimuli.

Character Formation in the Psychohygiene of a Young Person

Character is the attitude of a person towards the environment, his way of behaving in the human community and the way he uses his abilities.

Psychohygiene strives to ensure the healthiest possible development of a young person, above all, it strives to form a positive character in it. Character is probably to the least extent hereditary in nature; much more depends on the influence of the environment on personality formation.

Endogenous Psychoses

“Endogenous psychoses” are severe, chronic mental illnesses that occur without an adequate cause in the patient’s environment and without noticeable pathological changes in the brain. Psychoses include schizophrenia, the most common of all psychoses, and manic-depressive psychosis.

From there, they got the name “endogenous”, which means they originate from its innate constitution. The environment has a certain share in the occurrence of these diseases, but to a much lesser extent than in the origin of other mental illnesses.

Dementia and Psychopathy

Dementia is hereditary in 80% of cases, but it can also develop under the influence of very negative environmental factors. Even if a person has a tendency for sick personality development, the intensity, form and time of its manifestation will largely depend on the environment in which it develops.

A man with a certain hereditary burden in terms of psychopathy will develop more easily and quickly into a seriously ill person than one who does not.

The Effect of Physical Anomalies on the Personality Formation of People

The fact that various physical anomalies are inherited is very important for the formation of personality, such as awkward appearance, ugliness, extremely low or too high growth, then deafness, blindness and other defects.

Such permanent bodily damage that cannot be removed often discourages a person, deprives him of self-confidence, makes him distrustful of other people and pessimistic about life, and from these emotional attitudes arise various forms of sick behavior and unhealthy emotional response.

Neuroticism: A Neurological Manifestation of Affective Disorders

The most common mental disorders, emotional conflicts that manifest themselves in various neurotic symptoms, are not hereditary in nature. The appearance of neuroticism is a consequence of the constant conflict between the individual and his environment.

Although a diseased predisposition in a person’s mental constitution cannot in itself cause a more serious mental health disorder, if negative environmental factors are lacking, much can still be done for better mental health if the hereditary burden of mental functions on unhealthy elements is fought.

This can be done in several ways:

  • By counseling spouses before marriage
  • By refraining from giving birth to offspring in the case of severe disease inheritance in mental functions
  • By applying the eugenic indication in the legal regulations on the approval of artificial abortions

Marriage Counseling Centers in a Medical Setting

When two people want to get married, it would be necessary to consult a doctor about the possibility of their children developing as an expression of some unhealthy mental trait of one or the other partner. If this is likely to happen and you would like to have children, then it is wiser not to marry. The task of the health service is to organize marriage counseling centers that will deal with the entire medical issue of marriage.

If a child is already conceived in a mother who suffers from some inherited mental anomaly, or the father of the child is burdened with it, there is still a possibility that the abortion will be terminated.