An Analysis of the Minnesota Study of Twin Reared Apart
The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared apart (MINSTRA) marked an important moment in in the field of developmental psychology. The academic environment surrounding the study was focused on the question of nature versus nurture. This question spurred interest in twins because of their unique nature of having the same or very similar genes. In February of 1979 “the Jim twins” were reunited. These identical twins were separated at birth but shared an alarming number of similarities such as same occupation and hobbies. This sparked public interest into this topic and was ultimately responsible for the start of the MISTRA (Segal, 2012, p. 13). This analysis will discuss the processes and results of the study. It will then discuss my own critique of the MISTRA including ideas on further research. The MINSTRA: What was Done and How?
The MINSTRA was a thorough analysis of reared apart fraternal (DZA) and identical (MZA) twin pairs. Thomas J. Bouchard Jr, a psychologist with the University of Minnesota, started the MISTRA in March of 1979, and it lasted for twenty years (Segal, 2012, p. 3). Over the span of the 20-year study, thorough psychological and behavioral assessments of eighty-one MZA (monozygotic) and fifty-six DZA (dizygotic) reared apart twin pairs were conducted (Segal, 2012, p. 8). The goal of the study was to identify associations between differences in the twins’ life development and in the twins’ behavior (Segal, 2012, p. 3). If the MZA twin were more similar than DZA twins in certain behaviors, this was evidence of the influence of genes (Okami, 2014, p. 120). The procedures of the study included approximately 50 hours of medical and psychological testing per set of twins (Bouchard, 1990, 223). The MISTRA study was an uniquely thorough assessment of each participant. More than one test instrument was used in each major category of psychological assessment to make sure that...
Cited: Bouchard, T., Lykken, D., McGue, M., Segal, N., & Tellegen, A. (n.d.). Sources Of Human Psychological Differences: The Minnesota Study Of Twins Reared Apart. Science, 223-228.
Okami, P. (2014). Psychology: Contemporary perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.
Segal, N. L. (2012). Born together--reared apart the landmark Minnesota twin study. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
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