About Our Study

Goal and Objective of the study

The goal of our research is to understand how heredity and environment or nature and nurture influence how we learn. Specifically, what is our style of learning complex information or process information that we learn, and to what extent is that learning process, style, and preference influenced by our genes and our environment.

How are we going to conduct the study?

We will conduct the study by using a research method known as classical twin study design. In this research, we will collect data from twins on their learning styles and preferences using a questionnaire referred to as VARK questionnaire. We will also obtain information about their zygosity. The word zygosity indicates whether the twins are identical or whether they are fraternal twins. We will use a special questionnaire to obtain this information and we hope to accurately identify the identical twins and fraternal twins based on this questionnaire. Then, we shall use statistical methods and data analytical techniques to model how much of the learning processes can be influenced by genes as opposed to environmental factors.

Who are We and What are our Expertise and Skills?

We are academics from Australia and New Zealand. The Principal Investigator of this team is Dr Arindam Basu and here is his university home page. If you are interested in the other members of the research team, please contact Dr Basu.

What is the VARK questionnaire and why are we using this?

VARK stands for Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinaesthetic. These are the different styles or preferences people use when they learn complex topics. Dr Neil Donald Fleming, a Christchurch based educator, developed a questionnaire called VARK, that can provide information on your learning styles. You can learn more about VARK from the following webpage:

What is the Zygosity Questionnaire we are using?

We have put together a questionnaire on determination of zygosity that asks simple questions about resemblance of each other for each of the pairs of twins. We will use an algorithm to interpret the items of this questionnaire to correctly match whether the pairs of twins are identical (monozygotic) or fraternal (dizygotic). The items we will include in the questionnaire have been tested in other populations and researchers have found the questions reliable indicators to classify twins.

If you want to know more or have more questions, please feel free to contact our principal investigator, Dr Arindam Basu at his email address: arindam.basu@canterbury.ac.nz, or fill in the following form.