Are There Any Benefits to Being a Twin?

By studying historical data on twins born in Denmark between 1870 and 1900, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have found that twins tend to live longer than the rest of the population. They also discovered that identical twins actually live longer than fraternal twins. On average, male identical twins lived the longest out of all the types of twins featured in the study. The researchers surmised that this longevity is at least partly due to the increased social and emotional support system inherent among twins.

Two for the price of one:

  • Approximately one in 80 births in the Western world results in twins. The twin birth rate increased by 76 percent between 1980 and 2009, possibly as a result of technological improvements in fertility treatments.
  • The Yoruba people of Western Africa have the world's highest rate of twin births. Scientists have suggested that this could be due to that society‚Äôs consumption of a yam with a natural phytoestrogen that can stimulate ovaries to release more eggs.
  • Women who have a family history of fraternal twins have a higher chance of conceiving fraternal twins themselves. The link, researchers say, is a genetic tendency for hyper-ovulation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What psychological advantages might twins have over single-born individuals?

Twins often develop strong emotional bonds that can lead to psychological resilience. According to a study by the University of British Columbia, twins, especially identical ones, may benefit from enhanced emotional support and companionship throughout life. This can contribute to better mental health outcomes and lower levels of certain psychological disorders compared to singletons. (Source: https://www.psych.ubc.ca)

Are there cognitive benefits associated with being a twin?

Research suggests that twins, particularly identical ones, may experience cognitive benefits due to their shared environment and genetics. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that twins tend to perform better on cognitive tests in early childhood, which could be attributed to the constant social interaction and competition between them. (Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0107194)

How does being a twin impact social development?

Twins often exhibit advanced social skills from a young age, as they constantly interact with their co-twin. The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships highlights that twins can develop sophisticated communication and negotiation skills, which can benefit their social relationships outside of the twin dynamic. (Source: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/spr)

Can being a twin influence educational outcomes?

Being a twin may have a positive influence on educational outcomes due to the built-in support system. A study from the University of Western Australia found that twins, especially girls, tend to perform better academically, which could be linked to mutual academic support and motivation between twins. (Source: https://www.uwa.edu.au)

Is there a health advantage to being a twin?

Some studies suggest that twins may have certain health advantages. For instance, the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that twins, particularly monozygotic ones, have lower mortality rates at various stages of life compared to the general population. This could be due to the close monitoring of twins' health from birth and the psychological benefits of having a twin. (Source: https://academic.oup.com/aje)

More Info: Big Think

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