Twin Telepathy: Is there a ‘Special Connection’?

Written by on February 8, 2015 in Psychology-Psychiatry, Sci-Tech with 0 Comments
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Guy Lyon Playfair | Waking Times

Is there a special bond between twins? Can they read each other’s minds? Are they telepathic? If you have been hearing questions like these being asked regularly but have never found an answer, look no further. The short answer is – yes, and no. Let me explain.

As Orwell famously observed in Animal Farm,“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” So it is with twins – some them are indeed more identical than others. In fact, the term ‘identical’ is misleading. The medical word is ‘monozygotic’ (MZ) for twins originating from a single zygote or fertilised egg which then splits into two (or more), those originating from separate zygotes being termed dizygotic (DZ) or fraternal (non-identical). Yet although MZ twins are commonly referred to as identical, there can be wide differences among them. Probably the most important one has to do with just when that original egg divides. Usually this takes place a day or two after fertilisation, but division can take place up to twelve days later, or in the rare case of conjoined (‘Siamese’) twins, not at all.


Although the study of twin telepathy must be one of the most under-researched subjects in the whole of science, it now seems likely that the later the division, the closer the bond. Researchers at the University of Indiana have studied thousands of twins and have noticed that the later they divided, the closer they become after birth. So it seems likely that this is the group most likely to experience telepathy.

There are twins who have never had any experience of it, as described by ‘Alex’ on the multiples.about.com web site: “As an identical twin who knows many other twins I can tell you for a fact that twins don’t have telepathy. Any that say they do are either pulling your leg or attention seeking. I’d appreciate it as a twin and a human being if you stopped spreading lies.” As many other messages on this interesting site show, not all twins would agree with that and might well accuse him of spreading lies.

True, I have met twins who are not particularly close, and are not at all telepathy-prone. One told me that he sends his brother a Christmas card, but that’s about the only communication they ever have. Another admits that she is not even on speaking terms with her sister and has no contact with her, telepathic or otherwise. Yet I have also met the father of twenty-something-year-old daughters who, he assured me, had never been apart for more than two hours throughout their lives. And an item in a London newspaper not so long ago described the lives of a pair of twins in their forties who still sleep in the same bed. Clearly we have a very broad spectrum here.

Interviewed in 2002, one of the Californian supermodel Barbi twins commented: “We have that twin thing going on. Wherever we are in the world, we kind of know what the other one’s doing.”

“That’s right,” her sister chimed in. “It’s instinctive. It’s a twin thing.”1

I have not yet been able to interview the Barbis, alas, but I have met and interviewed dozens of twins of all ages, also mothers of twins as young as three days, and the evidence that there is indeed a twin thing is voluminous, although I seem to have been the first to produce a volume devoted to it, first published in 2002 and now reissued in a much enlarged and updated third edition.2How this came about is quite a story in itself.


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