Many twins report feeling something akin to twin telepathy—a kind of psychic bond that allows them to think and feel “with” each other. When one twin aches, the other twin does; when one twin is in danger, the other senses it; and when one twin feels joy, the other’s heart expands. It’s pretty much a twin superpower.
Pop culture is littered with twin telepathy tropes. From Star Wars to Twin Dragon to American Gods—and, of course, Tia and Tamara Mowry’s tween twin book Twintuition—the twin connection has a very specific grip on our imaginations.
But while it’s not hard to see why something so magical could stir up awe and wonder in our hearts and minds, can science back this marvel up?
Let’s explore the tantalizing tale of twin telepathy.
In this article: 📝
- What is twin telepathy?
- Do twins have a special connection?
- Do twins think alike?
- Where’s the science at with twin telepathy?
- Do twins have a secret language?
What is twin telepathy?
So is twin telepathy a thing?
Firstly, let’s firm up the definition of telepathy:
When we talk about telepathy, we mean the capacity to share thoughts without using our five senses. Essentially, a telepathic connection means you can know something about what someone else is thinking and feeling without them uttering a word, giving a look, or offering a touch.
Twin telepathy, then, is the ability of twins to think “with” each other without any of our outward human communication channels being used.
Do twins have a special connection?
There’s no denying that a twin connection is something beyond special and unique. Imagine knowing someone (other than your mama) for 9 months before you’re even born!
Beyond this, twins (to varying degrees) share a lot of the same biological ingredients.
A quick breakdown:
Think of identical twins as literally cut from the same cloth. They are formed when a fertilized egg splits in two. Same egg, same sperm, same DNA.
Fraternal twins are a little different. Two eggs are released—both of which are fertilized, each by a different sperm. Two different eggs, two different sperm, and they share as much DNA as non-twin siblings do.
Beyond this, twins not only have varying degrees of genetic similarities but also, at least in many cases, they grow up with comparable life experiences.
It’s no wonder then, with all they share, that some serious in-jokes would arise.
But can we go so far as to say that twins have a telepathic connection?
The answer is a complex one.
Do twins think alike?
There are two parts to the question of whether twins think alike: how twins think, and what twins think.
First, the how:
When it comes to how twins think, recent brain-imaging research shows that patterns of brain activity are more similar in identical twins than in fraternal twins. That means that, when engaging in activities like memorizing numbers, identical twins seem to think more alike.
And now, the what:
If you’ve ever been in the same room as a set of twins who finish each other’s sentences or randomly bust out the same phrase in unison, it’s hard not to believe that twins think alike.
That’s when they’re in the same room.
It gets weirder. Twins often report having the same thought or performing the same action when they’re not in the same room. Putting on the same outfit on the same day without consultation, for example. Or buying the exact same gift for one another.
Interestingly, this is not the sole domain of twins. Close siblings, romantic partners, and even very close friends report the same sort of occurrences. That points to the idea that sharing one’s life with another person may lead to the emergence of this sort of bond—and that is indeed truly amazing.
Where’s the science at with twin telepathy?
There’s a bunch of anecdotal evidence to suggest that some mysterious connection exists between twins, that they have some sort of pathway into each other’s minds and feelings.
Stories of the twin connection range from the day-to-day (ah, I was just thinking about you when you called), to experiencing physical pain when the other twin does, to somehow sensing that the other twin could be in danger.
One story that’s been used to provide evidence for the case of twin telepathy is that of Gemma Houghton who, after experiencing a sort of sixth sense that her twin sister was in trouble, ran to her aid and saved her from drowning.
Yes—but is twin telepathy what is behind this phenomenon?
Well, we hate to quell the magic, but the science is out on this one. As things currently stand, we can’t say for sure (as in, there’s no scientific, concrete evidence) that twin telepathy exists.
(Of course, science is ever-evolving so who knows what may be revealed in the future, but for now, that’s where we’re at.)
The bottom line? While the scientific jury is still out, there’s no denying that there exists a wealth of anecdotal evidence of twin telepathy.
Do twins have a secret language?
Ready to have your heart go pop? Here we go:
Even though the idea of twin telepathy is up for debate, it is possible for twins to develop a secret language of their own. Known as cryptophasia, the secret language of twins may develop when they are learning to speak. Amazing. Their very own language. Complete with their own unique dictionary of words.
This phenomenon is currently understood as situational—and not the exclusive domain of twins. Two non-twin siblings who are learning to speak at a similar time can also become secret language inventors. As a result, the evidence suggests that it’s more about having a partner in the language-learning crime than strictly biological factors.
Either way, pretty amazing, right?
So yes, sometimes twins are twinning not only physically, but also in their thoughts. While science may not be able to provide concrete proof of the existence of a magical pathway between the minds of twins, some such alchemy seems to exist.
Whatever the explanation, sharing that sort of bond with another human being is one serious gift—and whether you’re a twin, the mama of twins or simply intrigued by them, the twin connection is truly something to marvel at.