Three Identical Strangers

Do you ever wonder why you are the way you are? Is it all because of the way your parents raised you or the decisions you made? Is it destiny? Where does your personality come from? The great debate of nature vs. nurture has been going on for many years. Unfortunately from 1960-1980, there was a study done on identical twins and triplets who were separated by an adoption agency to try to figure that out.

On July 12, 1961, three boys, David, Eddy, and Robert were born. All identical triplets were given up for adoption and 6 months later they were separated. They were placed with families in the lower, middle and upper classes. Supposedly the purpose of the study was to compare parenting styles on development. Each family was very different in their styles which is the reason they were chosen by the Dr. Neubauer, a child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Dr. Neubauer had already placed an adopted sister in each family 2 years before the boys to study their parenting styles and continued to study the boys and compare them into their childhood.

At age 19 two of the triplets coincidentally met at college. The news spread quickly and the third triplet reached out to meet the other two brothers. When they met they said it was like they had known each other and the bond was instant. They soon found out they had the same preferences, they were all wrestlers at one point and loved Chinese food. They would finish each other’s sentences and wore the same kind of clothes. The bond was so strong they opened a restaurant together in New York called Triplets. As they worked together they began to notice their differences. They had different work ethics and personalities.

Just like with most relationships, there was a honeymoon phase where everything was great but with the brothers, it started to fall apart. They found out they were looking for similarities and the way they were raised did have an impact on them. Because the ethics of this study were poor it was never completed or published. The boys gave a first-hand account of their experiences and findings which are still helpful in their own way. Individuals with the same biology can have a lot of similarities but their upbringing made a huge difference in who they turned out to be. The debate still continues but luckily a study like this will not happen again. The findings from this particular study are sealed until 2066.

If you want to watch this movie yourself it is on Hulu. If you need help coping with a major life event like these boys did and are in the Chicagoland area feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, IL 60477.

-Dani from Olive Branch



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