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An interesting premise…

July 3, 2012

In early 1979, a pair of identical twin brothers who had been separated at four weeks were reunited after 39 years. Both named Jim, they discovered that they smoked the same brand of cigarettes, vacationed in the same town and both called their dog “Toy.”  Struck by the story, psychologists at the University of Minnesota started studying separated twins that same year. Their efforts blossomed into the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, which ran for a quarter century, attracting world-wide fascination and antipathy.

Nancy Segal’s “Born Together—Reared Apart” documents the history of the project and the 137 pairs of twins that took part in the nature vs nurture study.  Among the test subjects were twins, Jack raised as a Jew and Oskar as a Nazi, and Debbie and Sharon who shared the same levels of religiosity despite one being Christian and the other Jewish.  While the study has its critics, it raises questions around the role of genetics in forming personality.  You can read more here.

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