Twins; how can they be brought up the same, around the same friends and family yet have hugely different aspects of their personality? The video Carrie played for us in our lecture really interested me and I was fascinated by Mark and John’s story. Hearing them explain how they were brought up; by the same parents, in the same home, around the same people, sharing the same friends and just sharing their general environment it’s thought they would be very similar people. However there was one thing significantly different about the twins; John is gay and Mark is not. While watching this video it was running through my head that clearly nature has a much larger roll to play as their experience with nurture was exactly the same. When reading the nature – nurture debate (Boyd, D and Bee, H, 2012) it highlighted the fact that nature v nurture can be discussed using the terms heredity v environment; so then both Mark and John’s childhood environment were the same meaning their heredity must be different, does it not?
If this is the case then being gay was in John’s genes. However if this were true then what G. Stanley Hall believed does not add up to me,
“G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924) believed that milestones of childhood were dictated by an inborn development plan and were similar to those that has taken place in the evolution of the human species.” (Boyd, D and Bee, H (2012) P.3)
This then means that both Mark and John’s milestones should have be relatively similar at around the same ages, but this wasn’t the case. John was 26 when he really connected with his sexuality which is clearly a significant period of time after Mark was in connection with his. Personally I see sexuality as being a milestone therefore the fact they were completely different at completely different ages then can it still be nature?
Looking into this left me quite puzzled, until I looked more into epigenetic’s. Realising that epigenetic’s is the modification of genes highlighted to me that this may be the case for John, he has the same genes as Mark however some have been modified by being switched on or off resulting in their difference in sexuality.
As Mark and John are not identical twins then it’s believed they wont share the exact same characteristics therefore their environment may have had a different effect on them (Boyd, D and Bee, H, 2012). Having different characteristics mean an individual will connect with their environments dissimilar. Mark and John have been brought up in the same environment, sharing some of the same genes (with some being modified) but due to their characteristics being unique this means they may have interacted differently with their same environment giving them a different outcome as they grow older.
This then highlights to me that there are a number of things which may have been the cause of the difference in sexuality been the twins however I believe both nature and nurture played an important factor in John being gay and Mark being straight. I believe that many outcomes are due to nature where your genes play a big part and possibly some have been modified making them different in both twins however I do also believe that nurture has an important link to many other characteristics of a person and will also contribute to John’s sexuality as he may have interacted with his environment in a different way from Mark.
I’ve found this topic very interesting and I’ve enjoyed reading, finding out more about this subject. This was a topic which grasped my interest and I was eager to find out more.
BBC ONE. (2009). The Secret Life of Twins. [Online Video]. 01 October. Available from:http://bobnational.net/record/15715. [Accessed: 19 October 2015].
Boyd, D. and Bee, H. (2012) The Developing Child. (13th edn) London: Pearson