Sisters’ achievements a combination nature and nurture


Photo: Martin Dee

Twin sisters Negah and Pegah Mortazavi are in synch in all aspects of their lives. They joined UBC with matching entrance scholarships to pursue their honours degrees in psychology. Their enthusiasm and energy mirrors one another and they share a close bond. The scientist in them attributes this to culture, genes and environment.
“Very early on our parents encouraged us to be close and to support each other,” says Pegah, who is older by two minutes.
“Emigrating to Canada from Iran and learning another language while studying brought us even closer,” adds Negah.
The sisters are united by a shared passion for psychology and research. “We spend a lot of time together and we help each other with our research and our studies,” says Negah. “If I miss something I can use Pegah’s notes and vice versa. Our different perspectives help strengthen our work.”
They share the same research interests and worked together in Prof. Toni Schmader’s Social Identity Lab and Prof. Steven Heine’s Culture and Self Lab. Their work focuses on gender roles, culture and human nature.
In addition to their many similarities, the sisters say their differences complement each other well. “Negah is more hardworking and driven than me,” says Pegah. “I owe my bachelor’s degree to her. I’m more calm in some aspects and it balances us out.”
After graduation Negah and Pegah will be working at the Howe Sound Rehabilitation Services Society, where they’ll be administering cognitive brain tasks such as memory and attention tasks and games to adults with acquired brain injuries. Their goal is to continue their graduate studies at UBC. Together naturally.
Their story is just one of the UBC graduate snapshots in the Class of 2014.
-Bonnie Vockeroth