Everyone knows about some of the fundamental questions to life - [[Series/BabylonFive who are you, what do you want]], [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist 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 AbusiveParents 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 [[InTheBlood 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.

!!Tropes that tend to skew towards "Nature":
* BornLucky
* BornUnlucky
* BornWinner
* GenerationXerox
* GeneticMemory
* HeroicLineage
* InTheBlood
* LamarckWasRight

!!Tropes that tend to skew towards "Nurture":
* BlankSlate
* ConditionedToAcceptHorror
* MoreThanMindControl
* NurtureOverNature (obviously)
* RaisedByNatives
* RousseauWasRight
* StockholmSyndrome
* ThenLetMeBeEvil
* UpbringingMakesTheHero


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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''Manga/ElfenLied'', 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. Note that neither side is plausible in the manga.
** The manga implies that all diclonii are some degree of aggressive toward humans no matter how they're raised.
* ''Manga/{{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 he's trying to do the same to Sasuke.
** There's a lot of InTheBlood going around, in that Sasuke's family has a long habit of choosing 'power' over 'strength' that supposedly goes back to the ancient founder of their clan, the elder son of the Sage of the Six Paths. Doujutsu and sociopathy apparently have a causal link, though not an inescapable one.
** On the other hand, Gaara apparently had [[spoiler: a very loving mother]] and a cold bastard of a father, and to complicate matters was ''raised'' by an uncle who was very kind and looked just like his mother. And was also ANBU and accepted the mission of [[ProfessionalKiller making a hit]] on the six-year-old boy he'd raised, [[spoiler: in order to test his emotional resilience. The zombie of Gaara's father acknowledges this as a flawed methodology.]]
** And despite never knowing them, Naruto is just like both his parents.
* The ''Manga/{{Akumetsu}}'' are several dozen clones made from an extremely evil guy as part of a project to assure his immortality, all separated as infants and raised in may households across Japan, all under the first name Shou and all but one unaware of the others. They are nothing like their original DNA donor, apart from a possibly-related mad indifference to normality. They are, however, so much like ''one another'' they very nearly have a HiveMind within a weeks or even days of banding together.
** I.e., both sides of this trope are being used and abused with reckless abandon.
** Note that they did start swapping important memories around pretty early, though not many. To a certain extent they all imprinted on the Shou who inspired the whole Akumetsu project, but even before that they were so alike it's creepy, and honestly that Shou is less like the others than any of them.
* ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' is vague on whether homunculi are naturally malicious or if they're simply not raised well.
* This is one of the fundamental themes of ''WesternAnimation/OnePiece'', primarily in the case of the protagonist Luffy and his brother Ace. The question of whether or not the blood in your veins determines who you are -- somewhat played with in that Luffy and Ace ''did'' end up as criminals like their parents, but in their case it was their only hope of survival, seeing as the World Government is firmly on the "nature" side, deeming them to be evil just because of their parents' crimes and would've killed them immediately had they been aware of their existences earlier. Also played with in that despite taking after his father, Ace more or less disavowed him and considered Whitebeard his real father. Luffy himself was not influenced by his parents seeing as he never knew he ''had'' them. The issue is even further muddled by the fact that the World Government is blatantly evil, making Luffy and Ace downright heroic in comparison.
** This is arguable in the case of Donquixote Doflamingo once we see more of his past. Was he born evil like Rosinante suggested and incapable of veering off of his dark path? Or was it a combination of the mistakes of their father, Homing, whose actions caused the death of their mother, mixed with the influence of the executives, who provided him with his Devil Fruit and his signature flintlock? The latter created a conflicting message between Homing wanting Doflamingo to be humble and the executives who would burn down a city if Doflamingo tripped on its sidewalk, suggesting that while Doflamingo always had some darkness in him, it was the executives (particularly an 18-year old Trebol) who egged him on and pushed him over the edge.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comics ]]

* Brought up in most depictions of ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'': Superman is [[HumanAlien 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 DarkerAndEdgier interpretation, ''ComicBook/{{Superboy}}'' was all about this trope. Superboy is a clone created by human DNA that was altered and/or combined with Superman's DNA (DependingOnTheWriter). In the earliest years, his "daddy" was Paul Westfield and later, it was {{retcon}}ned to be Comicbbook/LexLuthor 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 ''ComicBook/{{New 52}}'' incarnation, Superboy starts flat out amoral. The group that cloned him outright questions whether his lack of human empathy is due to [[CloningBlues being a clone]], being half alien, or lacking Superman's overall upbringing. He slowly starts to learn empathy and compassion.
** The entire plot of ''Comicbook/JusticeLeague3000'' (which sees the [[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]] "resurrected" in the 31st century) hinges on this. Superman lacks the guiding hand of the Kents and is thus a JerkJock with a massive ego, Batman never suffered the loss of his parents and ''[[ReluctantHero doesn't even wanna be Batman]]'', Wonder Woman is a violent BloodKnight constantly looking for someone to kill, and so on.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4816968/1/Do-Not-Meddle-In-The-Affairs-Of-Wizards Do Not Meddle In The Affairs Of Wizards]]'', [[Franchise/HarryPotter Harry]]'s lawyer argues that the reason Dumbledore forced Harry to stay with the Dursleys was because he wanted to prove that it was nature, and not nurture, that drove an individual, and thus prove to himself that Tom Riddle would have gone bad, no matter what he did.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* The entire plot of ''Film/TradingPlaces'' begins when the Duke brothers place a bet on which is true.
* [[OlderThanTheyThink Long before]] ''Trading Places'', two businessmen tested this on Film/TheThreeStooges in "Hoi Polloi".
* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', Zod is a destructive KnightTemplar but he was bred and raised to be a soldier through [[InTheBlood bloodline]] and [[DesignerBabies genetic]] manipulation and the workings of Kryptonian society. Clark is descended from Kryptonian scientists, but he had a natural conception and birth and was raised by Kansas farmers. Though the film hints at Clark being geeky as a child, he chooses a different career in life which would have been impossible on Krypton.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Creator/IsaacAsimov used this with regards to robots, of all beings, in the short story compilation/narrative ''[[Literature/IRobot I, Robot]]'', by comparing physically and [[ArtificialIntelligence positronically]] identical robots who developed with different frames of reference (generally resulting in [[InstantAIJustAddWater aberrant behavior]]).
* ''Literature/WeNeedToTalkAboutKevin'' 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.
* ''WorldWar'' features aliens raising humans, and humans raising aliens, in order to see how close they can make each species to their own.
* Roose Bolton in talking with Theon during ''Literature/ADanceWithDragons'' openly wonders this about the relationship between his bastard son Ramsay and the first Reek, as Roose doesn't know if Ramsay's depravities were present before he sent Reek to serve him.
-->'''Roose:''' Did Reek make Ramsay, or did Ramsay make Reek?
* A recurring theme in Creator/JackLondon's ''Literature/WhiteFang'' is whether the clay one is shaped from or the way in which they are shaped is a more significant part of what makes a man or dog.
* ''Literature/TheMysteriousBenedictSociety'' books practically compel the reader to consider the question, with the case of Nicholas Benedict and Ledroptha Curtain, who are identical twins, but turned out very differently. How much of Mr. Curtain's wicked behavior is simply his nature, and how much can be put down to the circumstances of his life? And ''The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict'' shows how very different things might have turned out for Benedict had he not found the help of some kind-hearted adults in his youth.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* Frequently debated in ''Series/LawAndOrder'', to the point where Dr. Olivet said in one episode that she didn't want to rehash the "nature versus nurture wars", saying that both sides were equally right and wrong.
* On ''Series/{{CSI}}'', when Catherine Willows argued that people were shaped by their experiences as much as by their genetics, Gil Grissom agreed, saying, "Your DNA is what you are, not who you are."
* The entire point of the experiment with the clones in ''Series/OrphanBlack'' seems to be to explore this. The clones were placed into different environments and were observed by "monitors" who reported their every move.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* Basically the main conflict (besides the iconic "science versus technology") between the colours Green and Blue in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering''. Green, [[{{Pun}} naturally]], favors Nature, believing in genetic fatalism and predestination. Blue's entire philosophy relies on the concept of ''[[BlankSlate tabula rasa]]'', and therefore it sides with nurture.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': Exactly how much [[HalfHumanHybrid asari with a non-asari parent]] get from genetics, and how much from upbringing, gets a lot of flip-flopping. The asari claim that mating with non-asari just scrambles the daughter's genes a bit, but the daughter frequently develops traits of the non-asari parent. Matriarch Aethyta had a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy krogan]] father and is kind of a [[GrumpyOldMan Grumpy Old Lady]]. Another minor asari in the second game had a batarian[[labelnote:*]]The batarians are kind of the TokenEvilTeammate of the Citadel races, a totalitarian state that still practices slavery.[[/labelnote]] father and acts rather amoral and mercenary. Then there's Mordin's off-hand remark [[TheCastShowoff in his patter song]] that asari-vorcha offspring have dairy allergies.
* ''Franchise/MetalGear'': A recurring theme in the series, Specifically in ''MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'', Raiden is contrasted with Solid Snake and his clone brothers. Whereas the Snakes are genetically altered clones of Big Boss, Raiden is a child soldier who was raised by Solidus (one of the Snakes) and then subjected into the [=S3=] Plan, a simulation program meant to train a soldier in Solid Snake's image.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2711 Slick blames his upbringing, and then concludes that doesn't change his character.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* This was the title of the season one finale of ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderman''. 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.
* Crops up in the episode "Dragon Quest" of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', where Spike tries to learn more about being a dragon, but he learns that by nature, dragons are [[AlwaysChaoticEvil destructive and greedy]]. He then learns to embrace being raised by ponies as he has not become like them.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Universal Media ]]

* Inevitably brought up in stories involving:
** CloningBlues and {{Evil Twin}}s.
** TimeTravel stories invoking ForWantOfANail and ButterflyOfDoom.
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