Why did the Olsen twins stop acting

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Genetically the same, but still different. That can certainly be said of many identical twins. But which of our abilities, personality traits and attitudes are more determined by our genes, and which are significantly influenced by the environment? A very old but not an easy question of psychological research.

The twins Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen

Studies on identical twins were and still are the most important way to get to the bottom of the question of disposition and the environment. Longitudinal studies had already begun before the Second World War, i.e. twin pairs were observed in their development throughout their life and examined with various test methods. Due to the madness of the Nazi racial ideology, such studies, which were reasonable in themselves, fell into disrepute.

Model of the double helix

It was only in connection with the discovery of the molecular structure of the chromosomes, i.e. the DNA double helix, by Crick and Watson in 1953 that twin research became more important again. Psychological behavioral genetics and genetic research work hand in hand. The psychologists give the molecular geneticists important information on what to look for in the human genetic material in order to come a little closer to the elucidation of the systemic-environmental problem.

Is Intelligence Innate?

Professor Ernst Hany and Dr. Ulrich Geppert from the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich supervise one of the oldest longitudinal studies on twins. Your results so far indicate that cognitive abilities such as intelligence are subject to a high hereditary factor of around 60 to 70 percent.

The twins Hamit and Halil Altintop

The influence of our dispositions is significantly less when it comes to personality traits, such as fearfulness or openness towards others. Only around 30 to 40 percent are assigned to the genes. The rest was caused by environmental influences. Our attitudes, moral values ​​and also political convictions are only to a very small extent shaped by our dispositions. Our social environment plays the decisive role here.

Plaything between the system and the environment

Further research results show that the plant and the environment have different meanings in different phases of life. In childhood we are more shaped by the environment. Gender role stereotypes can be acquired here, for example, on the basis of the observable role behavior of the parents. Our later behavior is significantly influenced by this phase of socialization.

The twins Alice and Ellen Kessler

In adulthood it is more the genes that prevail. Our appearance is becoming more and more similar to that of our parents and some all too familiar features that we may have loved or hated about our parents or grandparents suddenly appear in us too. Environmental influences only play a greater role again at an advanced age.

In a certain way, our personality is a plaything between the system and the environment. We have not yet fully understood the rules of the game. However, the progress of knowledge accelerates from year to year.