Created By: Sledgesaul on October 11, 2011 Last Edited By: Serocco on November 29, 2011
Troped

Nature Versus Nurture

Was it influenced by something, or was it always there?

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Everyone knows about some of the fundamental questions to life - who are you, what do you want, where did you come from, and where will you go? Those are the "what" questions, but this is the "why". Why did you say that? Why did you do this? Why were you there?

Innate qualities and personal experiences both play an important part in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits, but this raises the question - which was more 'responsible' for such traits? Were these Abusive Parents abused themselves, and take that out on their own kids, or were they always malicious to begin with? Is the concept of free will (i.e. truly independent thought and truly independent decision-making) valid, or are your decisions brain-made "echoes"? Are your personalities determined more by genes, are they influenced your own experiences, or are they made so that your personality truly is unique?

At any rate, fiction can have a field day with this, and depending on the writer, it can skew to either side of the argument. Upbringing Makes the Hero is a sub-trope.
Anime and Manga
  • In Elfen Lied, a point is made about whether or not the diclonii really are malicious, or if their cruelty is a byproduct of how they were raised. Lucy appears to be the latter; Mariko appears to be the former.
  • Naruto has Sasuke, Gaara and Naruto; their personalities and mindsets were influenced by their upbringing, but whereas the former two dealt with it badly, the latter was able to pull through because he was luckier than the others, though he convinced Gaara to change his view on life, and hes trying to do the same to Sasuke.
  • In One Piece, comparisons between Luffy and his various rivals are made throughout the series, notably with Crocodile and Moriah. The latter two became who they are due to a rather screwed-up chain of events, while Luffy remains who he is because he apparently chose as much.

Comics
  • Brought up in most depictions of Superman: Superman is Kryptonian, but was raised by kindly old adoptive parents. In older stories, it was usually implied that his superior Kryptonian heritage and abilities were the cause of his strict moral compass, but in latter stories (especially after other, villainous Kryptonians, were introduced), it's outright stated that Superman's upbringing is responsible for creating who he is.
    • During his Darker and Edgier interpretation, Superboy was all about this trope. Superboy is a clone created by human DNA that was altered and/or combined with Superman's DNA (Depending on the Writer). In the earliest years, his "daddy" was Paul Westfield and later, it was retconned to be Lex Luthor instead. Neither of them are very nice people. So, Superboy constantly questioned whether he was destined to become good or evil based on the genes provided by Superman or his human father.
    • In his New52 incarnation, Superboy is flat out amoral. The group that cloned him outright questions whether his lack of human empathy is due to being a clone, being half alien, or lacking Superman's overall upbringing.

Literature
  • Isaac Asimov used this with regards to robots, of all beings, in the short story compilation/narrative I, Robot, by comparing physically and positronically identical robots who developed with different frames of reference (generally resulting in aberrant behavior).
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin is based around the nature/nurture debate -- did Kevin grow into a murderer because mummy didn't love him enough, or was he a psychopath from the word "go"? Basically, it weighs up blaming the mother when her child grows into someone diabolical, against the disturbing idea of being born evil.
  • World War features aliens raising humans, and humans raising aliens, in order to see how close they can make each species to their own.

Live Action Television

Western Animation
  • This was the title of the season one finale of The Spectacular Spider-Man. It concerns the different upbringings between Peter Parker and Eddie Brock.
    Brock: Our parents may have died together, but you had your precious aunt and uncle. We had no one, we've always been alone... until now.

Universal Media
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • October 11, 2011
    Fanra
    In Trading Places the entire plot begins when the Duke brothers place a bet on which is true.
  • October 11, 2011
    Earnest
  • October 11, 2011
    nman
    • World War features aliens raising humans, and humans raising aliens, in order to see how close they can make each species to their own.
  • October 11, 2011
    TitoMosquito
    This was the title of the season one finale of The Spectacular Spider-Man. It concerns the different upbringings between Peter Parker and Eddie Brock.
    Eddie Brock/Venom: Our parents may have died together, but you had your precious aunt and uncle. We had no one, we've always been alone... until now.
  • October 12, 2011
    Premonition45
    Long before Trading Places, two businessmen tested this on The Three Stooges in "Hoi Polloi".
  • October 12, 2011
    FastEddie
    Thank you for posting an actual trope.
  • October 14, 2011
    Sledgesaul
    So it already exists?
  • October 14, 2011
    Ekuran
    I think he means this is a good proposal for a trope in comparison too the garbage YKTTW usually gets.
  • October 15, 2011
    Serocco
    There's also the issue with a page image for it.
  • October 17, 2011
    KingZeal
    Universal Media

    Comics
    • Brought up in most depictions of Superman: Superman is Kryptonian, but was raised by kindly old adoptive parents. In older stories, it was usually implied that his superior Kryptonian heritage and abilities were the cause of his strict moral compass, but in latter stories (especially after other, villainous Kryptonians, were introduced), it's outright stated that Superman's upbringing is responsible for creating who he is.
      • During his Darker And Edgier interpretation, Superboy was all about this trope. Superboy is a clone created by human DNA that was altered and/or combined with Superman's DNA (Depending On The Writer). In the earliest years, his "daddy" was Paul Westfield and later, it was retconned to be Lex Luthor instead. Neither of them are very nice people. So, Superboy constantly questioned whether he was destined to become good or evil based on the genes provided by Superman or his human father.
      • In his New52 incarnation, Superboy is flat out amoral. The group that cloned him outright questions whether his lack of human empathy is due to being a clone, being half alien, or lacking Superman's overall upbringing.
  • October 17, 2011
    FantiSci
    We Need To Talk About Kevin is based around the nature/nurture debate -- did Kevin grow into a murderer because mummy didn't love him enough, or was he a psychopath from the word "go"? Basically, it weighs up blaming the mother when her child grows into someone diabolical, against the disturbing idea of being born evil.
  • October 17, 2011
    MiinU
    So basically, this trope is about whether your thoughts or behavior is the result of your upbringing, your environment, or free will. Interesting.

    I'll have to dig through my collection to see if I've seen/have anything like that.
  • October 17, 2011
    randomsurfer
    See also (still in ykttw) Mama Tried, where it's not nurture.
  • October 17, 2011
    Serocco
    You have a collection?
  • October 17, 2011
    MiinU
    ^Serocco - huge anime collection, modest movie collection. It's where I get many (though understandably not all) of the examples that I use.
  • October 18, 2011
    Sledgesaul
    Nice. I might have to make a thread for you, Zeal, Balmung, Ryuuma and Serocco, so we can speak to one another about our interests.

    Anyway, any other examples?
  • October 30, 2011
    JET73L
    Possible example doubling as a bump (I really think this is a definite "Worth Cataloging" trope): Isaac Asimov used this with regards to robots, of all beings, in the short story compilation/narrative I, Robot, by comparing physically and positronically identical robots who developed with different frames of reference (generally resulting in aberrant behavior).

    It could (maybe even should, though I hate to say it even as a "maybe") end up on the No Real Life Examples Please list, since I sadly and pessimistically expect that even if those in charge trust us with using only legally explicit examples and neutrally listing philosophers and scientists who made it their lives' work to figure out the balance, it would end up catching flame and eventually be restricted (or worse) anyway.
  • November 19, 2011
    Tambov333
    Bump.
  • November 19, 2011
    FinalStarman
    I think the potholes to Babylon 5 and Full Metal Alchemist should be removed. I could be mistaken, but I think those are fundamental questions, and I doubt those shows "invented" them.
  • November 28, 2011
    Serocco
    How can we catalogue this?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qkty9itqxzoxfmtmz545w3qn