Using Twins to Answer the Great Question

This paper provides a general overview on the data collected on twins regarding the question of personality development being influenced by nature or nurture. Includes the author’s opinion and analysis at the end.

Explores the idea of using twins to determine whether personality development is acquired through environment or genes. The paper also covers the topics of IQ, behavior, disorders, diseases, life events and genetic constellations in twins. It includes some twin study results, as well as criticism of twin studies and evidence for twin studies. The paper concludes with the author’s opinions and application of findings to education.
‘Personality development in children and adults is one of life’s greatest mysteries. Do we develop our personalities in accordance with the environment we grow up in and the events that are imposed upon us daily? Or do our genes and DNA determine whether we become popular and outgoing or introverted and rejected? This controversy of nature vs. nurture in the science of human psychology has raged on for centuries and probably will continue for years to come. A strong preference for one or the other has led the human population to measures of absurdity such as the eugenics (selective breeding) movement that was part of the purpose of the Holocaust. One of the reasons behind the difficultly in solving the nature vs. nurture problem is the near impossibility to scientifically test any theory that attempts to answer the question. This is where twins come in. They are the perfect specimens two persons with the same DNA. Clones. Theoretically, if they grow up to have the same personalities, that means personality is inherited. If they don’t, that means personality is acquired through environment. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that. There are many other factors to consider, such as the environments they were raised in, together or separately.”