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Dr. Robert Plomin of Kings College London has been recognized by the University of Louisville with its 2020 Grawemeyer Award in Psychology for his 45 years of research in behavioral genetics. Plomin’s work studying the development of twins took on the idea of nature versus nurture. His work led him to adjust that idea.

“The ‘nature of nurture.’ Nature being genetics, nurture being the environment. The idea of ‘nature of nurture’ is that our genetic propensities don’t just affect our behavior, they affect the way we interact with our environment. That is we select and modify and create environments correlated with our genetic propensities.”

Plomin’s work has shown the driving force in development is genetics, not environment. While he says environment does play a role in development, more research is needed to determine how.

Plomin will give a talk on his work at U of L when he receives the award in April. The Grawemeyer Awards come with a $100,000 prize; the university has already announced its winners in music composition and ideas improving world order; winners in education and religion will be announced later this week.

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for WFPL News.