Twin Saturday tells about studies of child development

The Twin Saturday at TSU brought together children of different ages and their parents. Younger children participated in a drawing workshop and glued a paper DNA. Parents spoke with Master students of the International Centre for Research in Human Development (TSU) and Yulia Kovas head of the center and Professor of TSU and Goldsmiths, University of London.

-  This event is aimed at both telling families with twins about the great value of their children for the science and involving them in our project - the Russian School Twin Registry - says Yulia Kovas.

The studies, conducted by TSU and Goldsmiths, University of London, are based on genetic similarity in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. The phenomenon of full or partial DNA similarity allows determining the ways genes and the environment affect various processes in human development. The collected data gives answers about twins and can be extrapolated to all people in general.

In the UK, twin studies of early development have been conducting for 25 years, with about 10,000 pairs involved. In this country, the following studies are not such scaled. However, the Russian School Twin Registry, a project on twin studies, includes a large number of families. Each pair of twins, in both the British and in the Russian project alike, participates voluntarily and on confidentiality.

-   Most of the participants of the British project continue to cooperate with us, although many of them have already graduated and some already live in other countries. In Russia, we also strive to maintain the interest of families in our work, because there are no other reasons to involve twins in the research. This is a voluntary matter and motivation is crucially important. For this reason, we hold such events, where we talk about our research, communicate with parents and children, invite them to register in the Russian twin registry. Now it is possible to do in the site, - tells Yulia Kovas to parents at a short lecture about the center.

The scientists underline that it is early days to talk about any significant results of the Russian project since a longitudinal study means a long-term collection of data and years of work. Nevertheless, taking a look at the British twin project, one can see that the data, collected over a quarter of a century, is generalized and analyzed by scientists and also influences the British policy in the field of education. The university research team believes that the results of their work will soon attract the attention of the relevant Russian ministry as well.

-  Along with twin studies, we are conducting a number of other major projects, dedicated to education and child development. One of them is implemented with the support of TSU and the Educational Center – SIRIUS (Sochi). There we carry out large-scale studies with children of different giftedness and with high achievements, - says Yulia.

At Center for Cognitive and Interdisciplinary Studies (SIRIUS) we study cognitive functions of gifted children, their memory, attention, perception features, personal characteristics, and motivation. About 700 schoolchildren come each month, which gives scientists a unique sample for a large-scale study. Yulia Kovas and her colleagues are sure that the obtained results will tell something new about the ways to achieve high results in different areas at an early age.