Friday, January 3, 2014

The Twin Connection

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A commonly overlooked topic in the world of science is telepathy.  Most people know of telepathy and have heard stories of it occurring in twins, but not many of these people believe that it actually exists.  Moreover, many people do not seem to care about whether or not it exists.  This may be a product of the lack of research that could be done on the topic.  We did not have tests for telepathy and neuroscience has many wonders left to be discovered.  Therefore, there was no point to spending time and money in an area that would yield minimal results.  However, times are changing.  Everyday new discoveries are bringing us closer to unlocking the truth behind questions we didn’t even know how to ask.  While many believe that twin telepathy is a myth, and that any reported occurrences are simply coincidental, new breakthroughs are causing scientists and psychologists alike to think otherwise.  
There are a multitude of examples of twin telepathy available.  For instance, Heather and Catherine Wombell, twins, were at school together when one began crying in class, saying that her scooter had gotten run over.  As it so happened, at that moment, her twin’s scooter had in fact been run over.  Another instance occurred between adult twins.  During one’s pregnancy, the other felt the same pains and cravings as the other, even to the point of abdominal pains while the other was in labor.  Yet another, more extreme case occurred between Bridget Harrison and Dorothy Lowe, twins separated for more than three decades.  When they were finally reunited, they were wearing the same jewelry.  Also, they both had cats named Tiger, one had named their son Richard Andrew while the other’s was named Andrew Richard, and they had matching diaries with the same days left out. These are only a few of the multitude of occurrences of twin telepathy (Eight Strange Instances of Twin Telepathy).
As of right now, twin telepathy is considered a “paranormal” event.  Paranormal simply means that it cannot be explained with what “scientists know” (Paranormal).  Other examples of paranormal events include ghosts, telekinesis, divination, and channeling.  Generally, these events can be explained through clustering illusion, availability error, confirmation bias, illusion of control, and the bias blind spot (Moulton, Kosslyn).  This means that many of these phenomena are a product of our mind.  When a person is presented with a multitude of events that contrast their belief and only a few that correspond with their belief, they will likely use the few events as evidence for their beliefs.  This has happened over history to create stories of different phenomena that can easily be explained through psychology.  Twin telepathy, on the other hand, is different.
Like the other paranormal activity, psychology does present an explanation.  However, in the case of twin telepathy, the explanation is not simply that there is human error or bias.  Telepathy is considered extrasensory perception.  The existence of extrasensory perception, or the ability to perceive things by means other than the five senses, has even been accepted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Kahn).  This may be largely because of the evidence shown in the London Study, a psychological study.  The study tested four pairs of twins for evidence of telepathic communication.  One twin from each pair was being monitored by a polygraph.  The other twin was subjected to minor shock stimuli, such as their hand being dunked in a bucket of ice water.  The polygraph was then monitored for spikes. In one set of these twins, the polygraph correctly identified when the other twin was being shocked four out of the seven trials.   If they this was simply chance, the probability of polygraph spiking when the other twin was shocked would have been less than one time.  This study has been tested with similar results occurring each time.  These results are too high for them to simply be chance.
Cases of telepathy has been seen in more relationships than just that of twins.  It has been seen in relationships where two people are extremely close to each other, which is generally the relationship shared by twins. For example, a woman felt as though she was being strangled.  She couldn’t breathe and felt an intense pain.  She found out later that day that her son had been shot in the head earlier that day. Scientists have found that this may be linked to cells in the mother’s body.  New research has shown that everyone has cells from others living within their body and their brain.  Cells from the son may have been in the body of the mother, allowing her to feel the pain of her son and know that something was wrong (Marlone).
Another new discovery in the world if science may have a connection to twin telepathy.  Mirror neurons are neurons that “[fire] both when an animal performs an action and when the animal observes the same action performed by another . . .  animal” (ScienceDaily).  Mirror neurons have only been discovered recently so there has not been much research behind them, but they are opening the door to many possibilities.  For instance, they may be linked to autism.  They can relate to telepathy as well though.  Since these neurons fire both when a person is doing something and when a person is watching something occur, and if thoughts can be transferred through electromagnetic waves, when one twin does something, it may cause the mirror neurons in the other twin to fire.  This would cause similar thoughts to occur or create the jump on the polygraph.
Howard Byington Horoyd took on the question of telepathy logically. In his article, “On the Priori Probability of telepathy”, Horoyd states that telepathy is a priori probability.  This means that its probability can be “calculated by logically examining existing information” (A Priori Probability).  The article begins by stating that organisms, including human beings, produce and control electrical energy.  This can be seen in the fact that pulsating electric currents travel along the nerves in the human body.  From there, he determines that if telepathy does in fact exist, thoughts would have to travel through electromagnetic waves, as that is the only known way for them to travel a long distance.  It has been proven that pulsating electric currents, such as those that travel along the nerves, always radiate energy.  Thinking produces this energy, which can then affect electrically conducting systems that operate on the same frequency as the waves.  Therefore, if other people act as the electrically conducting systems, the waves can create very similar thoughts. 
Horoyd’s theory involves human beings acting like receivers.  The neurons in one person’s brain would send out a signal at a particular frequency.  Research has shown that the brainwave frequency of a person, or electroencephalographic activity (EEG), tends to be similar to that of members of their own family.  According to the journal Biological Psychology, this is especially seen between identical twins (Eischen).  If Horoyd’s logic was correct, those that operate on the same brainwave frequency would experience telepathy more often.  In the case of identical twins, this is accurate.
Most people have heard stories of twin telepathy, cases of twins being thousands of miles away from each other, but still able to communicate.  This leads to the question of whether or not telepathy actually exists.  For years it has been thought of as simply paranormal activity.  However, now research is showing that it is in fact possible.  Thoughts can travel long distances in the form of electromagnetic waves.  When a person “receives” these waves, they can affect them and cause them to have similar thoughts.  The London Study produced results that were too high to simply be chance. Also, there is psychological evidence for twin telepathy.  It has even been recorded in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  However, telepathy does not only occur in twins.  There have been cases of it occurring between those in close relationships such as mothers and their children, siblings that are not twins, or really close friends.  All of this evidence suggests that twin telepathy is in fact possible.

Works Cited
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