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Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr. is a professor of psychology and director of the Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research, University of Minnesota. His longitudinal studies of twins reared apart are world-renowned. He was the president of the Behavior Genetics Association in 1993 and the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientist Lecturer in 1995. Bouchard received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966.
In 1979, Bouchard came across an account of a pair of twins (Jim Springer and Jim Lewis) who had been separated from birth and were reunited at age 39. "The twins," Bouchard later wrote, "were found to have married women named Linda, divorced, and married the second time to women named Betty. One named his son James Allan, the other named his son James Alan, and both named their pet dogs Toy." Bouchard arranged to study the pair, assembling a team and applying for a grant to the Pioneer Fund in 1981, stating, "Our findings continue to suggest a very strong genetic influence on almost all medical and psychological traits."
This work became the Minnesota Study of Identical Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA), better known as the Minnesota Twins Project. Time, U.S. News and World Report, the New York Times, and various TV programs have reported Bouchard’s conclusions that shyness, political conservatism, dedication to hard work, orderliness, intimacy, extroversion, conformity, and a host of other social traits are largely heritable. Bouchard and his team have published about 130 papers detailing their findings, and the project is generally considered the most important twin study ever done.
In 1994 he was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence," an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which defended the findings on race and intelligence in The Bell Curve.
Critiques of Reared Apart Twin Studies
- Farber, S. L. (1981). Identical twins reared apart: A reanalysis. New York: Basic Books.
- Joseph, J. (2004). The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope.New York: Algora. (2003 United Kingdom Edition by PCCS Books)
- Joseph, J. (2001). Separated Twins and the Genetics of Personality Differences: A Critique. American Journal of Psychology, 114, 1-30
- Kamin, L. J. (1974). The Science and Politics of I.Q. Potomac, MD: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- Taylor, H. F. (1980). The IQ Game: A Methodological Inquiry into the Heredity-Environment Controversy. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
- Thomas J. Bouchard at the University of Minnesota