Quick Note: Nature? Nurture? Both!

Here’s a fascinating little tidbit from Book Chat at the New York Times.   Jane Waldfogel is the author of a book called “Britain’s War on Poverty” as well as other books.   She’s interviewed here about the relative importance of genetics vs. parenting in outcomes for children.   It’s worth your time to read.  

One of the things she discusses is studies of identical twins adopted out at birth.  These are often cited because they seem to provide a nice test for the DNA-controls thesis as identical twins adopted into different households have identical DNA though they grow up in different environments.   (At least some do show strong similarities in the outcomes for the separated twins.)  Her critique of these studies is really thought-provoking.    

I have to say that it seems fairly obvious to me that the answer to the nature/nurture question must be both, but it’s equally obvious that this result does not satisfy everyone.

One response to “Quick Note: Nature? Nurture? Both!

  1. Interesting article. These studies about nature vs. nurture are so lame to me though. It does not seem like we should be surprised that a person’s life experiences influences their decisions and behaviors, their path and their destination.

    What they need to study is how absense of information affects the decisions of the abandoning parent not knowing the outcome of their reproductive behavior or the health and development of their children means they don’t have their own health information either. And for the people blindly raising 15 brothers and sisters as if they were all only children….one set of parent should be managing all 15 of their medical histories and their school records, the isolating the caregivers puts them at a disadvantage because they lack the experience to make good decisions for the child they are raising. The only way to mitigate that damage would be for all the parents to communicate regularly

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