What truly determines a transmission of traits—physical and behavioural—from fathers to sons is a topic that has been under scrutiny for many centuries. Several theories have been formulated and debunked, with not enough concrete results. Is it genetic, something we have no control over, or is it purely a by-product of the surroundings we grow up in and the value system imparted to us by our fathers during our formative years? The answer, we found out, lies in the grey area.
Our genetic make-up is a 50-50 mix inherited from our father and mother. Our sexual identity, however, is determined by the male Y chromosome (as is common knowledge, the genetic make-up of a female constitutes the XX chromosomal combination, both contributed by the mother, whereas that of the male is made up of the XY combination). This must mean that certain traits are only passed down from father to son, courtesy the Y chromosome, right?
What if we were to tell you that the traits that you and your father exhibit are similar because of the mere fact that you both are males? Don’t believe it? We don’t blame you. It does sound too simplistic to be true, but therein lies the answer! “Neuropsychological studies conducted over decades have proved that the male and female differ in terms of not just physiological but also psychological make-up. For instance, males have better visio-spatial and navigational skills, whereas women outperform men when it comes to tasks that require social and verbal skills,” says Parakram Mishra, human intelligence and behaviour analyst.
If you think you take after your father because you are good with navigation—and a tad stubborn in asking for directions when you’re lost!—remember that it has more to do with you and father being males rather than you being your father’s son. There are several such instances of intrinsic male and female traits that manifest themselves in our behaviour. Women have a better ability to correlate things like a date with an incident or an incident with a person and so on. Men on the other hand compartmentalise different memories and have a difficult time linking these compartments. So the next time your wife or girlfriend tells you off for not remembering your anniversary or the first time you two met, you can tell her to take it up with science!
So from a purely scientific perspective, your chances of exhibiting traits similar to your father and your mother are pretty much 50-50. But of course, the ‘nurture’ aspect too contributes largely to our personalities. As society dictates, men and women are supposed to be a certain way and men in particular are often measured against their fathers in terms of behaviour, personality and personal achievements. These ideas tend to seep into our minds, most often unknowingly, and thus, we can’t help but be like our fathers!
Written By : Neehar Mishra