With over six million people in the world, have you ever wondered how each one could be an original? Unique? One-of-a-kind?
Well, according to neuroscientist, Michael Merzenich, our individual skills and abilities are very much shaped by our environments, including our contemporary culture. The uniqueness of each individual is derived from the plasticity (adaptability) of the brain.
The combined skills and abilities of each person is built up in a way that is specific to each one’s history. That’s why no two individuals are alike. As the child grows, the brain is constructed from a wealth of experience and knowledge.
So mom, when you send Susie to school tomorrow, she is taking your home environment with her. If it is positive and supportive, she has skills and abilities that will enhance her learning. If you read to her, engage in family discussions, and praise and encourage her in her small efforts, you are preparing her for a great learning experience.
On the other hand, if you are frequently moving, your home environment is negative and in a dangerous neighborhood, her skill-set and abilities will actually reduce her learning capacity. Learning never takes place in the presence of anxiety and fear.
Getting back to the question I asked in the title, does heredity or environment affect learning more? Share your thinking on this.