Friday, October 26, 2012

Complex Feedback: Nature-Nurture

Many of us already know that the nature-purture debate is grossly oversimplistic. Still, all data supporting this fact is more than welcome.

We are all born with a set of genes which create our bodies, including our brains, the development of which informs our actions. We are born with instincts, which are genetically encoded. However, the environment also affects gene expression and the emerging structure of our brains' neural nets. This results in reactions to the environment, which change the environment, which in turn affects our brain's gemoetry and our genes' expressions. Etc.

This is, by any stretch of the imagination, a lot of complex interactions.

Nature-only and nurture-only explanations are simple -- indeed, simplistic -- explanations. This is true even though each of the systems involved -- genes and gene regulatory processes, neural networks, and social processes -- are each very complex in their architecture and processes. But let's face it: we are talking about three complex, self-organizing network processes interacting with each other. And we are not even talking about the complex sets and subsets of our social processes, and the interactions of each with the others.

Genetic (inter)actions --> complex bodies, including complex neural network/brain
--> actions and, with other people, interactions --> complex social processes
--> actions and interactions --> neural architecture and (inter)actions
--> genetic (inter)actions --> etc.

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