Having a twin seems like something very beneficial. From the time you’re born you have an ally, someone to support and influence the decisions you make. Yet are all of these preconceived ideas really accurate? How does having a twin influence someone’s life, and are the effects positive or negative?  

There are two types of twins identical and fraternal. Identical twins come from the same fertilized egg which splits shortly after conception forming two separate embryos, while fraternal twins come from the fertilization of two eggs using two sperm. Fraternal twins and identical twins are used in many different scientific studies and the data is most commonly analyzed and compared to one another. The gender of twin is also taken into account. For example fraternal twins that are male and female are often compared to fraternal twins that are the same gender.

A study done by Edinburgh University tested over 800 sets of identical and non-identical twins to see if environment or genes impacted someone’s personality more. The research concluded that genes play a larger role in personality development than environmental factors. The researchers determined this by analyzing how the twins interacted and by assessing their individual personality traits. They determined that “identical twins were twice as likely as non-identical twins to share the same personality traits, suggesting that their DNA was having the greatest impact.”

While genes seem to have a larger effect on a person’s development than their twin, researchers from the University of Washington did a study to see if having a twin impacted someone’s. Surprisingly, twins psychological responses to one another is similar to that of a married couple triggering a “twin protection effect.” Their current study explored how being a twin might impact one’s survival. The found that up until the age of 65, twins were more likely to survive then the general population. They also found discrepancies when comparing fraternal twins to identical twins. Identical twins are more likely to survive than fraternal twins, and male identical twins seem to be the most protective of each other. This shows that the twin relationship provides support in a tangible and emotional form, proving that twins ultimately do impact each other lives in a very large way. 

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CC BY-SA 4.0 The Impacts of a Twin by Tess is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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