As an Identical Twin, do I have the Inside Scoop on the 'Nature versus Nurture' Debate?

Identical Twins and Nature vs. Nurture

My Twin Sister and I
My Twin Sister and I | Source

Nature Versus Nurture

The simple explanation of nature versus nurture according to Wikipedia:

The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of a person's innate qualities ('nature') versus personal experiences ('nurture') in causing individual differences. In the language of population genetics, the heritability of a feature is the extent to which it is inherited genetically. That includes traits of behaviour and character. Though the public debate is all about humans, the principles apply to any living thing, plants as well as animals.

Twins and Nature and Nurture Debate

I recently joined a writing group for bloggers called 'One Stop Blog World.' Every day of the week has a different blog theme hosted by a writer. The idea behind the group is to help writers get the creative juices flowing. They give you a prompt or question to help inspire a story. Last Sunday the prompt was 'Nature versus Nurture.'

I thought back to my college days in Psychology and Sociology and what I had learned about the subject. Let's just go over the fundamentals of the nature versus nurture theory.

Nature refers to genetics, heredity and innate qualities one is born with.

Nurture refers to the environment we grow up in and the personal experiences that shape us.






Examples of Nature versus Nurture

Using Myself as an example: I can say that I inherited my brunette hair from my mother and I got my dad's bushy thick eyebrows. Research has shown that the physical characteristics I mentioned are inherited and genetic but it becomes much more complex when we start looking at traits such as: Behavior, Intelligence and Personality.

Using myself as an example again, let's look at intelligence. Did I inherit the gene that helped me through my Master's degree in Psychology or was this more about an environment in my upbringing that fostered my study habits which led to good grades?

Another example would be my love and passion for singing. Again, was this a inherited trait or was it about my environment and experiences?

This debate will continue but more and more researchers are seeing that genetics is only part of the puzzle. Genetically, we may be inclined to certain behaviors but environmental factors also have to be looked at. The question is, how much of who we are is genetic and how much of who we become is upbringing.

As an identical twin, I have always believed that both nature and nurture are valid propositions that work together. I don't know to what degree but I have lived it and learned it. My twin sister and I are very much alike (genetics) but we do have our differences which have been shaped by our experiences in life.

Regarding the intelligence trait I spoke of earlier-My twin sister also went on to get her Master's Degree and also received good grades. We actually went to college together for both our Bachelor's and Master's Degree. This is probably genetics and environment. My father skipped a couple years in high-school to attend college. He was an intelligent man which also affected the environment in my upbringing.

Regarding my passion for singing-My twin sister and I have been singing together since we were very young. We have sung at weddings and funerals and love singing Karaoke. Doing two -part harmony is especially fun because our voices are pretty much identical. Again, I see environment and genetics at play. My extended family is known to have a natural talent for singing and playing instruments and I was brought up in a home where musical talent and other artistic traits were highly valued.

Public Speaking is a skill I absolutely fear. I may have it in me as an extrovert, but it's not something I cared to practice or learn. I remember speech class in high school and college and how nervous I'd be two days before a speech. I was a total wreck and could think of nothing else but my fear of having to stand in front of the class and speak. My twin sister however, has made public speaking a big part of her professional life. She's not only incredibly captivating and talented at speaking, she has a passion for it. She loves to teach and educate others through her gift of public speaking. She had a big enough interest in it to practice and hone her skills. Genetics or Environment at play here? Probably both, but I just chose not to pursue the avenue of public speaking.

Conclusion of Nature vs. Nurture Discussion

Hopefully my personal experience as an identical twin has helped illustrate the Nature versus Nurture theory in a simple way. Although my twin sister and I are very much alike, (genetics) we have choices and free will and aren't merely our genetic make-up. We've had different life experiences aside from our childhood upbringing (environment) which has not only cultivated different talents in each of us but also shaped who we are as individuals.


What do you believe?

See results without voting

Identical Strangers-a book on their ordeal

© 2011 Linda Rogers

More by this Author


Comments 59 comments

stayingalivemoma profile image

stayingalivemoma 5 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

Oh, Psych class is coming back to me. I think it takes a little bit of both actually. Voted up and useful.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Nice, thought-provoking hub about a topic that has always fascinated me. My personal conclusion is they're both important but our own free will and choices are the ultimate deciders of which traits come forth more prominently.

Just watched a segment on this issue on Oprah's new OWN channel. They followed twins separated at birth or at an early age. Very interesting.

Voted up, useful and interesting.

BTW: I love the baby photo of you and your twin!


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

It's always a pleasure to read your articles. This one is very thought provoking. My daughter, who was never around her biological father as a child, mispronounces three words in exactly the same manner as he did. I always found that to be intriguing.

I spent more than a few hours studying this subject when she was diagnosed with ADHD back in the mid to latter 70's. The ratio of boys was much higher than girls, at least at that time, and there was much speculation about nature vs nurture. After searching for and finding him, at her request, and getting to know him from an adult perspective, instead of teenaged sweethearts, I am fairly certain he "carried the gene." Though, again, nurture surely had input as well. This is the "chicken and the egg" question of all times and a fascinating read.


Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 5 years ago from India

I enjoyed. Well, I believe on both nature and nurture. Both genetics and our surroundings after birth creates our final personality.


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Yikes, a masters in Psych. Now I'm paranoid about leaving a comment :-P Great hub, very interesting!! Hope you girls are doin' well. Peace!! Tom


spotlight19 profile image

spotlight19 5 years ago from California

Hey very interesting article voted up;)on what year were you two born?


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

.....well it's in my nature to want to be nurtured by such a beautiful and talented lady like yourself Miss Linda - and believe you have passed this assignment with flying colors - lol - I have been blessed by your friendship and support my esteemed colleague over the past year and a half - it's been a great ride and experience because of people like you (and your beloved sister too) ....thank you for the memories and still more to come too ......my thoughts and prayers for you naturally are for your health - so I send you my warmest wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada - and you can major in psychology anyday - lol lol

12:18pm


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Linda, This was interesting to read. I'd say I would have to go with Nature and Nurture combined.


PenMePretty 5 years ago from Franklin

This is awesome!!! Voted up!


PenMePretty 5 years ago from Franklin

This is awesome!!! Voted up!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Definitely nature and nurture combined, and yet there is something more. My logic says it has something to do with the chemicals released by the brain. A little bit more of one hormone and a little less of the other determine our actions and moods... and this have an effect on the environment and will reflect back on us .... I guess we can discuss this topic for hours. Bookmarked and voted up and interesting.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Great hub. A lot of twins also say that they have a sort of sixth sense about each other and can tell if everything is alright with the other twin or not.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

I went with Nature and Nuture too. It must be beautiful to be a Twin. I like your photo's. I have a Twin Brother and Sister - they are so different.

Great Hub. Thanks.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

What an Interesting and Informative Hub Minnetonka Twin. I too go along with Nature & Nurture combined...and I'd like to add, each Twin has done very well for themselves. That Video was very Thought Provoking and Sad, that they could be separated... to be studied...I'm so glad they found each other.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Ya, me too stayingalivemoma. I think we get talents and other traits from genetics and environment. Thanks for coming by, I appreciate it.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi HappyBoomerNurse-I'm so glad you read my story-If anyone would know about this topic, it would be you, my nurse friend :-) I wonder if there would be a rerun on that special with Oprah about twins that were separated. The video above is a story on twins separated at birth also but with a sick twist. Can you believe the hospital chose to separate them for adoption and then decided, why not make them part of a twins study since were separating them. Needless to say, the twins (after searching for their biol. family)find out years later (at 33 yrs old) that they have an identical twin. Woe-now they have a book about it called, "identical strangers."


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Pooh-That is intriguing that the two mispronounced the same three words. Kinda spooky yet so fascinating. It sounds like you figured out the ADHD was on the dad's side. This is a really fun subject and I thank you for stopping by my friend :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Sneha-I'm with you buddy. It's definitely both nature and nurture. Always great to see you-Hope everything is going great for you.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

Next time I explain "genetic predisposition" in group, can you and your twin stop by? Oh, and I believe the two of you may have gotten my share of the singing genes! I love to sing, but can't "carry a tune in a bucket." Nice hub, Minnetonka Twin:) up vote and interesting.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Tom-Sis and I are doing great. Very funny comment about being scared to leave a comment. (LOL)Don't worry, I don't analyze the comments you leave me. WAH AAH AAH-she says in an evil laugh.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Spotlight-Great to see you :-)twinner and I were born in 1963-Jan 13-We're Capricorns. Can't wait to hear what this means to you.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dearest Colin-You always know how to make my day. No one knows how to make words come alive and touch the heart like my Canadian Prince. I love seeing you here today and so glad I found you on the pages of Hub.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Susan-Thanks for coming by. Ya, I think it's the combo of nature and nurture-also when it comes to sis and I.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for voting for my hub PennMePretty-I appreciate it and great to see you. Hope your having a great evening.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hey Martie-I think it's unanimous thus far the it's a combination of both. Interesting what you said about chemicals in the brain and how it affects our actions and moods. :-) Thanks for the vote and button pushing-Nice to see you.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Gypsy Rose-Oh yes, my sister and I have had many bizarre twin experiences. I have some hubs that talk about them. Here is just one of them if you get time to check it out. http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Twin-Siste...


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Lady_E. Fraternal twins can be really different but not always. I can't tell you how amazing it is to be a twin. You have a built in best friend that you know is Always there. At least that's how it is with us.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi B.Malin- I know, isn't that the saddest thing that the twins were not only separated but they were part of a twin study and didn't even know till years later. I think it's just ghastly. I too am so happy they found each other.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Kim-I would be happy to stop by group and help your students see the real thing and bring the point home. We are very much alike in our personality and physical characteristics but we do actually have a couple differences. LOL Not too many though.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

What an interesting hub and I love the photo of you both!

I would say it nature and nurture combined, a great read thank you and voting up.


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

Hello Minnetonka Twin,

What an interesting hub on the old chestnut of the nature vs nurture debate from a unique angle.

As a twin you have a perspective that is very rare and can give us a greater insight, into what aspect is more important.

I remember from college that some early research on twins separated at birth indicated that they do have common traits; that can only be explained by nature and yet they have shared other similarities that can only come from nurture?

It certainly is a puzzle and I think it would be interesting to hear more from your unique perspective.

Great hub Minnetonka Twin voted up and interesting.

I tend to lean more towards the combination theory.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Movie Master-Looks like sis and I have always been hams as you can see in the baby photo. Thanks for checking out my hub :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hello Molometer-I did think this would be a good hub for me to write since I'm a twin. You are right that many studies have shown Many similarities in twins that were reared apart. Some of the traits are right down to the twins smoking the same brand of cigarettes, marrying someone with the same name, etc...it is fascinating stuff. Thanks for reading my story :-)


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I missed the video the first time around but watched it now and it was truly appalling! It's truly baffling what some people in the medical profession do in the name of research. It's good that we have some additional laws on the books nowadays that prevent these kinds of things.


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

It is a fascinating subject and hope you write more on it.

There have been some very strange things as you mention, marrying the same type of person, clothing choices etc.

Great work


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi HBN-Glad you checked out the video. It really is apalling. I can't imagine them being separated much less put in a twins study without their knowledge. So glad they found each other.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks Molometer-I will write more on this topic and I really appreciate your support.


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

It is a great idea for a series to be honest. There is so much you could clarify with this kind of topic.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

HMMM???? I like that idea-I would sure have the stories to share. Thanks again Molometer. I sure appreciate it :-)


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

This is and has always been a fascinating subject, Linda, even when I was in grad school an eon ago. Both nature (genetics) and nurture (environment) contribute to the person we become. No 'boudt adout' it. Thanks for this clever, literate hub.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Very interesting perspective MT. This is really a topic of choice. You have helped me understand this matter much better. Best wishes.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

drbj-It's been eons for me too. Funny how time whips by. Thanks for stopping in and reading this. It really is a fascinating topic and one I felt I had some information on as a twin.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much for your nice comments lyricwriter and thanks also for hitting all those buttons for me. Glad it made sense and gave you more understanding of the topic. That always feels good as a writer.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a very interesting hub, Minnetonka Twin. My vote is for a combination of nature and nurture too. I've always wondered what it would be like to have a twin, as I expect many other people have wondered. What happened to the twins in the video was atrocious!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Alicia-Thanks for reading my hub. It's a blast being a twin. Double the trouble, Double the fun! LOL I can honestly say that I have never felt alone because I always know my twin is there for me. She's my best friend and I am so grateful for her. :-)


pmccray profile image

pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

Excellent hub, interesting subject matter. Voted up, marked useful and interesting.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks pmccray for your nice comments and voting and hitting buttons. Hope your having a great day :-)


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

What an interesting hub. This is a fascinating topic. I believe it is the combination of both

You can sit and watch family members and pick out the various mannerisms that come from an earlier generation.

My grown daughter walks exactly like her aunt who she hasn’t seen since she was a child.

I have a friend with identical twin boys, one is married with 3 children and the other is still a happy bachelor., but otherwise all of their mannerism are the same.

I think it shameful the way those twins were split up at birth for the sake of study. But it was so interesting to watch and see the same mannerisms from both, they both talked with their hands which must have come from the genes.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Rosemay50. Thanks for your nice comments. It is interesting to watch family mannerisms. I thought it was pretty sad too that those twins were split up and then used in a twin study. So glad they found each other.


LeeWalls profile image

LeeWalls 5 years ago from United States

I like this article. I believe genetics and your upbringing has a lot to do with who you turn out to be.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks so much Lee, I appreciate it.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Very good topic, Minne, probably one of your favorites since wondering how to create your own identity apart or similar to your twin. Awesome video. Many people in my heredity are twins, but not in my generation. I believe each person has traits, gifts, potentials which they can develop, while others that come naturally, other habitual tendencies. Our conscious efforts, upbringing, family dynamics, culture also impart what becomes of each of us. And, no one can deny the obvious physical resemblances, voice inflections, little fingerprints that make us similar to previous generations. Blessings, Debby


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Debby-The whole twin thing is a intriguing topic. I can only speak of me as a twin who was raised with my twinner but I think it is a big piece of the puzzle and can give good information for twins that are reared together.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Great hub - I majored in psychology as well so this is very interesting to me. Nice to get the information straight from the source.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Ya, another Psychology major on hubpages. I'm excited to be one of your new followers and will start reading some of your work now that the holidays are over.


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US

Very interesting. I was always so baffled by twins and triplets who i went to school with who dressed and acted exactly alike. My identical twin cousins couldn't be more polar opposite!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Sis and I were very much alike and for the most part, had the same friends. We didn't dress alike after my mom passed away when I was in 4th grade. We do have a few differences but not too many. Thanks for stopping by :-)


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho

I think the same is true for medical history. So much emphasis is given to the diseases of your relatives, but how much of it is really attributed to lifestyle habits? Great Hub! Wishing I could have the experience of being a twin. I think you are lucky : )


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Jennifer. Yes, being a twin is such a blessing. I love it! I totally agree with your medical history point-You can look at this as the nature vs nurture debate too. Great to see a new follower here. Thx :-)

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working