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Welcome Parents
Dr. Goldsmith's labs are working hard to increase participation of families with twins on the autism spectrum and families with ethnically diverse backgrounds. If your family or a family you know is interested in learning more, please contact us.

Twin GirlsHeaded by Dr. Hill Goldsmith, Wisconsin Twin Research is a group of three research laboratories that investigate temperament and emotional development, challenges and adaptations in social situations, and the autism spectrum. Findings from these longitudinal studies will improve understanding of individual differences across genetic and environmental influences as well as how children's behaviors develop through the lifetime.

Our research aims to answer questions like:

How similar or different are identical twins' and fraternal twins' behaviors and emotions? Do similarities and differences change as the twins grow older?

Do shy toddlers develop into shy adolescents?

What are the nature, sources, and social consequences of emotional individuality?

Is autism heritable?

How family research participants help answer these kinds of questions

Families participate in a variety of ways, including phone interviews, mailed questionnaires, and visits to families homes. Current studies include twins under the age of 21. For more information, check out each of our research projects:

Autism studies (Twin Autism Project)
Study of challenges and adaptations (Wisconsin Twin Project)
Study of temperament and emotional development (Genetics of Emotional Ontogeny)

Why study twins?

Studying twins allows researchers to identify both genetic and environmental influences on child development. Identical twins share 100% of their genes and fraternal twins share, on average, 50% of their genes. Researchers can look at behavior relationships between twin pairs and estimate the heritability of a certain trait or behavior. For example, if identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins on a given behavior, researchers estimate that there is a stronger genetic influence on that behavior.

If your family would like to participate in our study please contact us.


University of Wisconsin-Madison :: Department of Psychology :: Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Psychology Department, University of WI, Madison
Waisman Center, UW Madison