Thursday, July 06, 2006

...and twins   posted by Razib @ 7/06/2006 02:00:00 AM

Why aren't identical twins linguistically identical? Genetic, prenatal and postnatal factors:
...twin-based heritability estimates for language rarely exceed .6 and monozygotic (MZ) twins..sometimes have very different linguistic profiles. In addition, twins are more likely to suffer linguistic delays and impairments than singletons. Postnatal factors, such as differences in linguistic input twins receive, are usually assumed to be the major reason for these findings. This paper discusses how genetic, epigenetic, and perinatal environmental factors can lower heritability estimates for language, cause MZ twins to be linguistically discordant, and increase the risk of language impairments in twins...these results support nativist/biological theories of language and language development and call into question empiricist/emergentist theories. These results are also consistent with modularist theories of language. We end by suggesting new methods that can be used to tease apart the effects of prenatal and postnatal environment and to investigate how these factors interact with genetic factors.