You Two Are Related? How Siblings Can Be So Different

Insightful post. Helpful to understand sibling relationships. Carrie asks, “HOW CAN CHILDREN RAISED IN THE SAME FAMILY HAVE SUCH DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES?”

Carrie Rubin

As a mother, pediatrician, and sister, I recognize all too well how different siblings can be. One brother might be a bookworm, the other a jock. One sister an optimist, the other a cynic.

Like me, you probably wonder how people from the same genes and the same environment can end up being so different.

oranges and apples

In the 1980s, Robert Plomin, a psychologist specializing in twin studies and behavior genetics, discovered something interesting (as summarized by Alix Spiegel in the article Siblings Share Genes, But Rarely Personalities). In regards to physical characteristics and intelligence, siblings were fairly similar. But when it came to personality, they were more like strangers. In fact, their personalities were similar “only about twenty percent of the time.”

That finding prompted the scientific community to ask:

How can children raised in the same family have such different personalities?

According to Spiegel’s article, three theories surfaced:


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