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Life Is a Carrot

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dianajammal
Words 6661
Pages 27
By LAWRENCE WRIGHT
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Read the Review
TWO LIVES-- ONE PERSONALITY?
A pair of identical twin girls were surrendered to an adoption agency in New York City in the late 1960s. The twins, who are known in psychological literature as Amy and Beth, might have gone through life in obscurity had they not come to the attention of Dr. Peter Neubauer, a prominent psychiatrist at New York University's Psychoanalytic Institute and a director of the Freud Archives. Neubauer believed at the time that twins posed such a burden to parents, and to themselves in the form of certain developmental hazards, that adopted twins were better off being raised separately, with no knowledge of their twinship.
Neubauer also recognized the exceptional research possibilities such a separation offered. Studies of twins reared apart are one of the most powerful tools that scholars have to analyze the relative contributions of heredity and environment to the makeup of individual human natures. Identical twins are rare, however, and twins who have been separated and brought up in different families are particularly unusual. Neubauer was aware of a mere handful of studies examining twins reared apart, and in most cases the twins being studied had been separated for only part of their childhoods and were reunited at some point long before the study began. Here was an opportunity to look at twins from the moment they were separated, and to trace them through childhood, observing at each stage of development the parallel or diverging courses of their lives. Because the sisters shared the same genetic makeup, one could evaluate the environmental effects on the twins' personalities, their behavior, their health, their intelligence. Such a study might not set to rest the ancient quarrel over the relative importance of nature versus nurture, but there were few other experiments...

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