We’re Family — But Why?

Listen 47:22

Ever sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, look around at the shining faces of your family, and think to yourself: “How the heck am I related to these people?”

You’re not alone. Family can be a source of love and support, along with frustration and bafflement. So what keeps us tied to family — shared memories and Sunday dinners? Or is it blood and genetics? The Pulse explores how we define family — and how family defines us.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • To get us ready for the possible tumult and hurt feelings at the holiday dinner table, psychology professor Marissa Holst explains how conflict can both hurt and strengthen families.
  • When Jean DelMuto needed a kidney, her nephew Jim Melwert volunteered. Neither realized the family reverberations his generosity would cause.
  • Biologist PZ Myers discusses whether genetics explains our drive to connect with distant relatives across the world.
  • Tara and Alan Atchison knew before they got married that if they wanted children, they’d probably adopt. Going that route expanded their idea of family more than they had expected.

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