Twin Telepathy

My younger two sisters (9 years old) happen to be twins. About two years ago, one of the twins suffered from a case of appendicitis. Unfortunately, the doctors were unable to diagnose the illness in its early stages, which resulted in my sister staying in the hospital for much longer than needed. During the entire ordeal, my whole family experienced tremendous pain and just wanted her to recover quickly and completely. While my sister was in the hospital, her twin felt “incomplete”. Since they spent almost every waking moment together, she no longer had a friend attached to the hip. After a couple of weeks of my sister’s absence, her twin began throwing more tantrums and had trouble falling asleep at night. My whole family wondered if it had anything to do with my other sister being sick and spending time in the hospital. We were almost convinced that she actually felt the physical pain that her twin was enduring. This concept of “twin telepathy” has always intrigued me, especially since I have a personal connection towards the subject. Is there scientific evidence behind the theory that twins can simultaneously experience pain? Is “twin telepathy” scientifically possible?


According to Live Science, twins have a special bond because they are so emotionally and physically attached to one another, especially after birth. There is certainly a psychological connection between twins, who have a tendency to think similarly or mirror the actions of one another. However, this could be easily related to any other pair of siblings. The theory of twin telepathy dates back to the 1800s, where an anecdote describes two brothers that were once conjoined at birth experiencing the same feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations as adults. However, just like this narrative describes, the support behind the theory of twin telepathy is primarily anecdotal. There is not concrete scientific evidence that supports the idea that twins are able to physically feel the sensations that the other one is feeling. It is more likely that shared DNA prompts similar traits, which can be said about all siblings. Like we have discussed in class, anecdotal evidence is not the strongest evidence in the science field and allows for weak inference rather than conclusive results. We cannot rely on anecdotal evidence because it is open to bias and can easily reflect the results of an individuals’ experience. Additionally, there is always the possibility that chance is involved.

One study in England tested the possibility of ESP (extra sensory perception) between twins. In the test, one twin was told to pick a number or draw the first thing that came to mind. The other twin was to say what their twin picked or drew. This test was also applied to non-twin siblings. The results of the study found that the twins were almost twice as likely to get the answer right, compared to the non-twin siblings that were able to predict what their sibling picked or drew. However, it is important to note that neither the non-twin siblings nor the twin siblings scored above the experiment’s chance expectation of 25%.

Null hypothesis: the twin siblings will not score higher than the non-twin siblings in the thought concordance test (same scores)

Alternative hypothesis: the twin siblings will score higher than the non-twin siblings in the thought concordance test

Based on the results of the study, scientists were unable to reject the null hypothesis that the twin siblings will not score higher than the non-twin siblings in the thought concordance test. The probability of a false positive, or scientists saying that the twin siblings scored higher than the non-twin siblings when really there was no difference in scores, would be 5%.


One of the most intriguing aspects of the twin telepathy theory that allows for investigation is the “supernatural”. Similar to what we have discussed in class, the supernatural attracts scientists because it calls for an explanation. Since there are countless anecdotes, noted experiences of possible “twin telepathy” and instances where twin siblings have been able to sense each other’s pain in the most extreme of situations, scientists are willing to investigate and attempt to deduce causality.

ABC  debunks many of the twin telepathy theories. The idea that twins can sense each other’s pain and read minds is FICTION. The greatest reasoning behind why twins claim that they can physically feel each other’s emotions is due to the psychological bond that they share. Although they are still siblings, the connection they share may be stronger because they have shared a womb. But let’s be real, what connection is stronger than one created by the womb?

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About omz5012

Olivia Zhang is a junior at Pennsylvania State University from McLean VA. She is currently in the Smeal College of Business, majoring in Supply Chain & Information Systems with a minor in Information Systems Management. Olivia is an extremely motivated individual and works tirelessly to get the job done. When faced with multiple tasks, she sets short term goals for herself until she is able to accomplish them. She enjoys communicating with others and collaborating on group projects and business endeavors. As an undergraduate Supply Chain & Information Systems professional who possess the qualities of a team player, creative visionary, and goal-oriented leader , I am looking for experiences that will propel my knowledge and expertise in the business market's most vital supply chains.

4 thoughts on “Twin Telepathy

  1. Mairead Donnard

    This is such an interesting topic to discuss. I have always wondered whether twin telepathy was an actual phenomenon, but based on your research, it is seemingly not. With this being said, there are other anecdotal stories that contradict the findings of this study. For example, “Live Science” published an article ( discussing how one twin had a feeling that her twin needed help and immediately looked for her, when she found her, the other twin was drowning in water. Anecdotal stories like that are definitely convincing, but there is no actual science that backs these types of claims of twin telepathy. In fact, in that particular situation, that was not the first time that the other twin had found herself in life-threatening situations. With this being said, I definitely agree that twin telepathy is more psychological rather than scientific.

  2. Margaret Eppinger

    This is a super interesting post. There were a lot of pairs of twins that went to my high school, and I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be one. Do they have a certain connection? I think emotionally they probably have some kind of bond, although I was unable to find anything on the psychology of that. The lack of experiments that have found significant results, as well as the fact that most of the evidence is anecdotal, leads me to believe there probably isn’t twin telepathy. At least, there is not in a way that science can prove. This theory also has a supernatural element to it, which is a gray area for science. There is always the fact that it could be just some kind of crazy phenomenon that science can’t really do experiments on.

  3. Luyi Yao

    Twins telepathy is always used in novel and TV series. Sometimes it appears in reality. It’s pretty interesting and magic. No one knows that whether it is true or by chance. If the twins are Identical twins, they share 100% same DNA. Also, if the twins are fraternal twins, they share 50% same DNA. So I think that so many similarities may cause some special relationship between twins, although scientists have no idea currently.

  4. Jessy Severino

    The title of this post really caught my attention. When I was in fifth grade there were twins in my class and it seemed as though they knew what the other was going to say as if they could read each others mind. Thank you for the interesting topic I’ve always wondered if it was a possibility of that happening but now I know that it isn’t. I know that twins share similar DNA but I doubt that they can share pains I’m wondering how likely is it to happen and how frequently can it occur; but well just have to wait and see if scientist do more research on this topic

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