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.

Segments from this episode

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