Nancy Segal: Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about Twins : Academic Press, 2017, 334 pages, eBook ISBN: 9780128039953, Paperback ISBN: 9780128039946.


different approaches to studying twins, Segal’s remaining 11 chapters delve into these mythconceptions. The format of these chapters is to present a series of misconceptions about different topics, each of which is followed by a “short answer” and then a section labelled “more of the story”. The short answers are sometimes quite long but typically briefly summarize information about the topic; the “more of the story” sections provide more detailed scientific information, and these will likely be of the most interest to behavioral geneticists and other scientists who work with, or who are interested in twins. Each chapter concludes with numerous citations for readers who wish to learn more. Chapters 3 and 4 cover misunderstandings about twin conceptions: examples include the notion that identical twinning does not run in families (it is likely that it does in some families) and that DZ twinning skips generations (it doesn’t). Chapter 5 explores ways to establish twins’ zygosities: don’t try to prove that twins are monozygotic by their identical fingerprints because these won’t be. It’s also not the case that twins are always born on the same day (the current record difference in birth dates is 87 days) or even in the same country. Chapter 6 describes such biological complexities about twins as polar body twinning and twinto-twin transfusion syndrome, and explains how it is possible (albeit rare) for MZ twins to differ in sex. Chapter 7 looks at such topics as telepathy between twins (unlikely, despite many MZ twins and others who believe that twins can read each other’s mind), and also describes the intelligence and expert performance of twins. Chapter 8 provides a very well-reasoned coverage of issues surrounding twins’ education, such as whether they should or should not be placed in different classrooms or even in different schools, and also looks at twins’ language development. This chapter should be of particular interest True or False? Consumption of white yams increases the likelihood of DZ twinning? There have been documented instances of MZ twins who differ in sex? 10–15% of us may have had a twin in utero that vanished before birth? Twins are more likely to be abused as children than non-twins? If you answered “False” to any or all of these you might be surprised to learn that they are all in fact true. They are also just a tiny sample of the many fascinating true—and false—facts about twins that Nancy Segal writes about in her latest book: Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about Twins. This is Segal’s fifth book about twins: her earlier ones being Entwined Lives: Twins and what they tell us about Human Behavior (1999); Indivisible by two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins (2005); Someone Else’s Twin: The True Story of Babies Switched at Birth (2011); and Born Together-Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study (2012). As in her previous books, Segal’s Twin Mythconceptions presents an exhaustive and scholarly, but very readable review of a vast body of literature in a way that will appeal to twins, parents of twins, the general public, and scientists alike. Segal defines mythconceptions as “the common misunderstandings, mistakes, and miscommunications that have permeated beliefs about twins...(which) are evident in scientific circles, as well as in the popular media and in public conversation” (p. xix). Following two introductory chapters which discuss different types of twins and ways to establish zygosity or twin type (and the importance of doing so), and


0 Figures and Tables

    Download Full PDF Version (Non-Commercial Use)