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Nature's Great Experiment consists of three separate but connected films made by Jordan Baseman. The films are: Laws of Variation, Tape 1 Tape 2 and Nature's Great Experiment. The works incorporate recorded interviews with world-renowned behavior geneticist, Professor Terrie Moffitt and her Twin Research Team from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. The title for the project Nature's Great Experiment refers to the phrase that behavioral geneticists use to describe their research with identical twins. Twin studies use comparisons between identical and non-identical twins to explore the contributions of genes and environment to health, disease and behavior. Behavioral genetics seeks to understand both the genetic and environmental contributions to individual variations in human behavior.
Professor Moffitt and her team are major contributors to the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). This study focuses on the early development of the three most common psychological problems in childhood: communication disorders, mild mental impairment and behavior problems. More than 15,000 pairs of twins have been enrolled in TEDS and the participating families are representative of the UK. TEDS uses such a large sample in order to study abnormal development in the context of normal development.
The films exhibit an individual style, yet they are all a depiction of the same scientific information gathering process: the interviewing of (primarily) mothers of identical twins and the twins themselves within the family home by scientific research workers. The project Nature's Great Experiment represents three vantage points of this interview and evaluation process: the mother, the research worker and the behavioral geneticist. The project Nature's Great Experiment is funded by the Arts Humanities Research Council, Wimbledon College of Art and the Wellcome Trust, London.
This website serves as a record of the project.