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German Research Foundation to fund globally unique twin study on social inequality
Date:12/7/2012

This press release is available in German.

Much celebration at the universities in Bielefeld and Saarbrcken. The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funding for a long-term research project by Professors Dr. Martin Diewald and Dr. Rainer Riemann from Bielefeld University and Dr. Frank Spinath from Saarland University. They are studying the development of social inequalities for the example of 4,000 pairs of twins living in Germany. The name of the study is 'Twinlife'. The DFG announced its decision today (7 December), and will be providing more than four million Euros of funding for the first three years.

In a longitudinal study, which should stretch over twelve years, the researchers will study the development of social inequalities across the life span. The mechanisms contributing to social inequalities will be studied in an interdisciplinary way. This will combine both psychological and sociological research traditions with the methods of behavioural genetics. 'We shall not just look at the social mechanisms, but also at the genetic differences between individuals, and focus particularly on the interaction between genetic and social influences,' Riemann explains. 'In addition, we shall focus on the psychological processes that mediate between genes and the environment.'

Social inequality will be examined in five central life domains. These are the development of abilities and academic success, participation on the labour market, social capital and integration into social networks, social and political participation as well as the development of deviant behaviour and socio-emotional problems. Spinath describes the study's approach: 'It will be necessary to recruit a representative sample of 4,000 pairs of twins living in Germany for the funded study. Then, the twins and their parents, any brothers and sisters of the twins, and
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Contact: Dr. Martin Diewald
martin.diewald@uni-bielefeld.de
49-521-106-4309
University of Bielefeld
Source:Eurekalert

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