In recent times, the nature vs nuture argument has shifted towards a growing consensus that heredity and environment are inseparable and most researchers understand development as resulting from a dynamic interaction between heredity and environment.
A number of concepts have been developed to explain, or elucidate in part, how heredity and environment work together to influence development.
The concept of “genetic-environmental correlation” suggests that our genes influence the environments we are exposed to. Further, the manner in which this occurs changes with age.
According to the concept the correlation initially occurs passively as children have little choice about the environments in which they are placed. For instance highly musical or creative parents are likely to encourage their child to participate in musical or creative pursuits, and the child’s resulting ability can be attributed to both environmental and genetic influences.
In older children, the genetic-environmental correlation commonly becomes an active process. As children have freedom to make their own choices and continue to have experiences outside their immediate family environment, they actively seek out environments that suit their genetic tendencies.
This tendency to seek out environments that suit or complement our genetic makeup is known as “niche picking”.
Applying this concept to my own personal development, I can see how my academic abilities may be the result of niche picking. As a child I did not choose primary school I went to, but was fortunate to be in a very good school, and placed in a class with many bright children. I had a choice as a 12 year old whether to go to a musical academy for high school, or a selective school. For reasons I really don’t recall, I chose the selective high school, and from there selected to undertake a Bachelor of Science and Law at university, having being drawn to mathematics, scientific and analytical...