Twin Myths: Prejudice and What’s Really Behind It

preconceptions
Clichés about twins: some are true – but others are really absurd

There are questions that Gemini can no longer hear

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There are sentences that twins hear all the time: Are you telepathically connected to one another? Do you like the same things? These and other myths are widespread, but only a few can be scientifically proven. We took a close look at twin clichés.

This text first appeared at this point at brigitte.de.

A doppelganger: a curse or a blessing?

Imagine you have a: n doppelganger: in. A person who (at least at first glance) looks like you. On the one hand cool, on the other hand the idea can be a bit scary. This is because we humans strive for individuality and independence. Twins are often denied parts of this individuality. Parents attract them identically, teachers mix them up, and they also have a lot of prejudices to contend with. One might wonder whether the similarity is really only determined by the same genetic make-up or is also forced by the environment.

How often does it happen that humans have a genetic clone?

In fact, twin births are not that rare. Every 250th child in Germany is born as a twin. A distinction is made between identical and dizygoti twins. The former have exactly the same genes and arise from a fertilized egg cell. While in the latter, the genetic makeup is only about half the same. In this sense they are like “ordinary” siblings. So from a biological point of view, this is not rocket science. Nevertheless, the fascination with twins seems huge. That would at least explain the many clichés and myths that are circulating around the topic.

Our top 6 twin myths:

1. Identical twins are exactly alike

Despite having the same genetic makeup, twins do not have identical personalities. A study by Bielefeld University, the GOSAT (German Observational Study of Adult Twins), shows that about 42 percent of personality traits and behavioral patterns are influenced by our genes. A large part, however, is determined by external influences: the environment and upbringing make up about 26 percent. This means that twins are very similar, especially when they are children (if they grow up in the same environment). However, behaviors are always situation-dependent and individually different.

2. Twins are less intelligent

Yes and no. It is true that kindergarten-age twins tend to have a lower IQ. This is due to two factors: On the one hand, individual personality development is made more difficult because twins always see their brother or sister in the mirror. They don’t identify with their reflection in the mirror. On the other hand, it happens quite often that one child sends the other forward and thus pulls himself out of responsibility. True to the motto, what you can do, I don’t have to learn. These behavior patterns are close to one another and dissolve in the course of childhood.

3. Geminis have telepathic abilities

It is often said that twins can read each other’s minds. Some twin pairs themselves are convinced of this and claim to have had such experiences before. To a certain extent, that can be true. However, that at a distance of several thousand kilometers that one twin feels how the other is doing is rather unlikely.

4. Each twin has already switched roles

Twins are often asked whether they have ever assumed the other’s identity and thus duped people. But is such a role reversal as in Erich Kästner’s novel “Das doppelte Lottchen” really possible? Also a yes and no: People we see often but who are less close to us, like the cashier in the supermarket or the woman at the bakery, are easier to deceive. You can be influenced by your appearance. People who are closer to us would notice such a dizziness very quickly.

5. The first-born twin is more dominant

This myth has persisted for a number of years. It is based on the following belief: Those who were able to assert themselves at birth and win the race will also do so in life. However, it has been proven that there is no connection between the order of births and personality traits such as dominance.


Prejudices: Clichés about twins: some are true - but others are really absurd

6. Geminis like the same things

That is only partly true. The same genetic makeup leads to similar tendencies in character. Nonetheless, other factors also come into play and determine what we like and what not. Twins are often denied their individuality. They do not necessarily have the same favorite food, interests and hobbies. They can even be very different. Sometimes parents point out differences early on and put their offspring in certain roles. They usually mean it well and want to underline the individuality of the individual child; in fact, this behavior can have the opposite effect and lead to rivalries.

Sources: sueddeutsche.de, wdr.de, psychologie-heute.de

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