Wether it be your habit to go off on an anger rant, feel alienated in large groups or feel anxious during stressful situations, these habits are part of your daily behavioral patterns and at often times difficult to change. Your daily habits reflect your personality, as well as your typical way of thinking, feeling and behaving in society. Some of these habits come from a cluster of predispositions called traits, which influence consistencies in our behavior that make us the unique beings that we are.
So, the next question is, are these personality traits shaped directly from our environment in which we were raised? The famous University of Minnesota twin studies examined about 130 pairs of twins to identify wether personality is a result of shared environmental factors- experiences that make individuals within the same family more alike, or nonshared environmental factors- experiences that make individuals in the same family less alike. Psychologists found that the shared environment of the identical or fraternal twins reared apart often plays little or no role in adult personality, indicating that personality is in fact primarily hereditary, just like height and eye color.
For example, Gerald Levey and Mark Newman, two identical twins separated at birth both show striking similarities in personality and daily habits after 32 years living apart. The first three minutes of the video below shows the uncanny parallelity of their lives after they finally meet each other .
This mind boggling study in psychology is one that has surprised psychologists all over the world. Gerald and Mark are just one example of two twins separated at birth, yet there continue to be people living all over the world who have an unknown counterpart living a similar lifestyle. As this course progresses I hope to delve deeper into the fascinating phenomenon of personality traits and this world famous study that was created right here at the University of Minnesota many years ago.