Twin Mythconceptions - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128039946, 9780128039953

Twin Mythconceptions

1st Edition

False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about Twins

Authors: Nancy Segal
eBook ISBN: 9780128039953
Paperback ISBN: 9780128039946
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st February 2017
Page Count: 334
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Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about Twins sheds new light on over 70 commonly held ideas and beliefs about the origins and development of identical and fraternal twins. Using the latest scientific findings from psychology, psychiatry, biology, and education, the book separates fact from fiction. Each idea about twins is described, followed by both a short answer about the truth, and then a longer, more detailed explanation. Coverage includes embryology of twins, twin types, intellectual growth, personality traits, sexual orientation of twins, marital relationships, epigenetic analyses, and more. Five appendices cover selected topics in greater depth, such as the frequency of different twin types and the varieties of polar body twin pairs. This book will inform and entertain behavioral and life science researchers, health professionals, twins, parents of twins, and anyone interested in the fascinating topic of twins.

Key Features

  • Identifies common misunderstandings about twins
  • Provides scientific answers to questions about twins
  • Encompasses the biology, psychology, genetics, and personality of twins
  • Includes discussion of identical, fraternal same-sex, and fraternal opposite-sex twins
  • Allows for quick answers to common questions and more detailed explanations


Researchers in psychology, genetics and family dynamics. Interested lay people

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Twin Types: More Than Just Two

  • Abstract
  • Twin types: not just two

Chapter 2: Living Laboratories: Double Designs and Multiple Methods

  • Abstract
  • Twins and twin methods
  • Novel twin and twin-like designs
  • Genetic studies
  • Cross-cultural considerations

Chapter 3: Mythconceptions About Twin Conceptions—I

  • Abstract

Chapter 4: Mythconceptions About Twin Conceptions—II

  • Abstract

Chapter 5: Identical or Fraternal? Telling Twins Apart

  • Abstract

Chapter 6: Biological Complexities, Myths, and Realities

  • Abstract

Chapter 7: Mind Readers? Twin Telepathy, Intelligence, and Elite Performance

  • Abstract

Chapter 8: Going to School and Speaking Out Loud

  • Abstract

Chapter 9: Human Behavioral Variations: Sex and Sex Differences

  • Abstract

Chapter 10: Good Twin–Evil Twin and Other Family Ties

  • Abstract

Chapter 11: Twins, Clones, and Other Extraordinary Pairs

  • Abstract

Chapter 12: Twin Spouses and Unrelated Look-Alikes: New Views

  • Abstract

Chapter 13: Of Two Minds: Old Questions and Fresh Answers

  • Abstract
  • Looking back
  • Switched at birth and reared apart
  • Worth a second look
  • Mirror–mirror
  • Two to one?
  • Lost and found
  • Multiple birth mothers and female twin daughters
  • Special twins—special needs
  • Gene hunt

Appendix 1: What About Hellin’s Law? And Does Weinberg Rule?

Appendix 2: Right-Handed or Left-Handed?

Appendix 3: Polar Body Twins: A Primer

Appendix 4: Nancy L. Segal’s Ten Classic Books on Twins

Appendix 5: Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2017
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Nancy Segal

Dr. Nancy L. Segal received a B.A. degree in psychology and literature from Boston University (1973), and M.A. (1974) and Ph.D. (1982) degrees in the Social Sciences and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Chicago. She is currently Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton and Director of the Twin Studies Center. She has authored over 200 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as several books on twins.

Dr. Segal has received several international awards, including the James Shields Award for Lifetime Contributions to Twin Research (International Society for Twin Studies) and the International Making a Difference Award (Multiple Births Canada). She is also the 2016 recipient of the Wang Family Excellence Award from California State University. Dr. Segal has contributed to national and international media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. She has been a frequent guest on national and international television and radio programs, such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, the Martha Stewart Show, the Oprah Winfrey Show and The Forum (BBC).

Affiliations and Expertise

California State University Fullerton, Department of Psychology, Fullerton, CA, USA


"Nancy Segal's new book, Twin Mythconceptions, is an entertaining investigation into the scientific basis, or lack thereof, for more than 70 commonly held beliefs about identical and fraternal pairs." --Psychology Today

"...proves an in depth look into twin research findings. The writing style is easily accessible and the first person narratives provide a personal touch to the content. This balance of story and academic review provides an excellent mix." --Personality and Individual Differences

" 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." --Behavior Genetics

"A new book by a prominent twin researcher debunks many popular myths and makes a strong case for how all of us can benefit from studies of identical pairs….Twin Mythconceptions, is an entertaining investigation into the scientific basis, or lack thereof, for more than 70 commonly held beliefs about identical and fraternal pairs." --Brian Boutwell, PhD, Psychology Today, Dec, 2017

"For those interested in twins and how they have contributed somuch to our knowledge of the human condition, I would thoroughly recommend this latest authoritative but eminently readable contribution by Nancy Segal, one of the leading twin researchers of our time (and, of course, a twin herself)." --Twin Research and Human Genetics

"In this gem of a book Nancy Segal has amassed a fascinating collection of accounts about twins and the mythconceptions people have about them. She has shown again that she is the world's leading expert on twins and has written a book that will be of interest to researchers and the public alike" --Tony Vernon, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario

"People are fascinated by twins - they provide an incredibly important resource for scientists trying to disentangle nature from nurture in the causes of disease and behavioral differences between individuals. Nancy Segal gives us the latest scientific evidence in a rigorous, but engaging and eminently readable style. A must for twins, researchers, and anyone with a curiosity about the human condition." --Nick Martin, Editor, Twin Research and Human Genetics, Queensland Institute of Medical Research

"Do you have a question about multiple births (twinning)? If so, Twin Mythconceptions is the book for you. Written in clear prose and thoroughly documented, it will be indispensable to both the professional community and general public for a long time to come. I thought I knew a lot about twins until I read this book, but now I know how little I knew. Five stars for Segal!" --Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Department of Psychology

“Everything you’ve always wanted to know about twins – and lots more that you may never have thought to ask. As a mother of identical twins, I found Segal’s book to be simultaneously authoritative and accessible – a remarkably engaging overview of one of humanity’s most persistently fascinating biological relationships.” --Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Author


Pogrebin, Author

"Twin Mythconceptions is not Nancy Segal’s first book about twins and twin research, but it is very possibly her best and most comprehensive one. The title might be a bit misleading: the most important part of the book is not about false beliefs but about numerous and diverse facts about twins and twin studies. For those interested in twins and how they have contributed somuch to our knowledge of the human condition, I would thoroughly recommend this latest authoritative but eminently readable contribution by Nancy Segal, one of the leading twin researchers of our time (and, of course, a twin herself). - Dorret I. Boomsma, Netherlands Twin Register, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Published in the journal Twin Research and Human Genetics. Complete review here

"...Serving as a primer on the science of twinning, a source to support or shut down popular twin myths in our world, and an interesting twin-trivia handbook, Segal succeeds in offering the twin-curious some seriously strong scientific research surrounding the world of twins. The author approaches nearly every twin "mythconception" out there with detailed explanations on how these myths came to be, if they have any merit, and factual data to support every true or false statement. Her research is extremely thorough and supported. In our day and age of misconceptions, misinformation, and "fake news", it’s so fantastic to have a resource for the what, why, and how of twins."


Ratings and Reviews