Segments in this Video

Identical Twins (02:14)


Leora Eisen presents a film about identical twins, a group to which she and her sister Linda belong. Born in June 1961, the sisters were inseparable in childhood.

Twin Experiences (03:32)

Linda describes the attention garnered from being an identical twin. Twins are created when one egg splits into two inside the womb. Hollywood depicts twins in dramatic black-or-white features.

Twin Speak: Cryptophasia (02:45)

The Eisen sisters hypothesize that other people are jealous of twin relationships because it is as if they already have found their soulmates. Twin babies develop languages they use among each other.

Detached but Conjoined: Inseparable Twins (03:42)

Leora interviews another set of twins, Lauren and Allison Knight. The girls describe themselves as one person split into two bodies and admit that they sometimes wish they were one person. Their parents attest to their inseparability.

Identical Identities (02:28)

Lauren and Allison Knight feel that they are sometimes regarded as a freak show because they are so intertwined. Eisen wonders how their personal identities fair. Twins often adopt one another's memories.

Strength in Twins (04:25)

Twins Kevin and Andrew Atherton work together as performers in Cirque de Soleil. They report having different personalities, Andrew being extroverted and Kevin less so.

Intensity of Twins (04:03)

Twins report feeling extreme pain and guilt when one twin is injured. According to psychologist Joan Friedman, sibling relationships are multiplied in intensity for twins.

Conflicting Identities (02:07)

Friedman has a practice exclusively for twins, conducting what is known as twin therapy. Friedman notes the dysfunctional aspects of twin relationships.

Differentiating Twins (02:48)

Friedman relates that most twins begin feeling dysfunction within each other in adolescence. Leora and Linda describe a traumatic experience from their childhood.

Separated at Birth (05:22)

Twins Gillian and Lily were adopted by separate families from the same orphanage and raised separately. Each set of parents had lost a child prior to adopting from the same orphanage.

Together yet Apart (03:14)

The parents of twins separated via adoption vowed to keep their daughters in contact with one another. The parents discuss the adoption agency's insistence that the girls would not end up in the same home.

Too Much Togetherness? (03:20)

Friedman is concerned about the over-dependence of the Knight twins. Their mother describes the isolation from other children they experienced in school.

Blessings and Curses of Twins (02:24)

The Knight twins describe their obsessive compulsion disorder and eating disorder issues. The Eisen twins were socially included in high school.

Play or Pray: Twins of Different Lifestyles (04:04)

Twins Jeff and Larry live wholly different lifestyles; Jeff adopted the American Dream while Larry prays in Israel. The twins are mirror images of one another, from thumbs to their children.

Religious Splits in Twins (03:18)

Jeff and Larry describe Larry's entry into strict religious observance. It was an experience for both of them, with Jeff viewing it as a cult-like endeavor.

What Can We Learn From Twins? (02:15)

The Eisen twins feel that identical twins can teach other people to be selfless. When Kevin was injured, he could not compete with twin brother Andrew. They grappled with working together as performers.

Twins and Sexuality (02:05)

Despite being identical twins, the Athertons have a major difference: Andrew is straight, while Kevin is gay. Kevin explains the difficulties this created.

Twins: A Natural Experiment (03:32)

Genetics researcher Professor Tim Spector studies identical twins. He looks for the subtle differences between twins. One twin often dies years before the other.

Twins Into Old Age (02:19)

Leora interviews 97 year old twins, one who is healthy enough to go to the gym daily, the other who requires constant care. Their longevity may be partially due to their bond.

Cancer in Twins (02:44)

Linda went through cancer and a divorce, while Leora did not. Twins Maren and Kris describe what it was like when Kris found out she had breast cancer.

Bonds Beyond Twinship (01:55)

The Eisen twins discuss the closeness of their relationship. Kevin and Andrew's spouses talk about how happy they are.

Celebrating Twinship (03:29)

The Knight twins discuss their relationship. They attend a festival for twins every year in Ohio. Twins at the festival describe their own relationships with their twins.

Epigenetics in Twins (02:39)

Spector weighs in on Maren and Kris, and Kris' cancerous condition. Spector explains how epigenetics triggered cancer in Kris. Twins Lily and Gillian, who were raised apart, are similar in personality.

Subtle Differences (02:16)

Lily and Gillian are a nature versus nurture experiment, and psychologist Dr. Nancy Segal studies their relationship. Segal notes that had they been raised without contact knowing that the other existed, they likely would have been resentful of their parents.

Sisters Stick Together (02:56)

Lily and Gillian and their families describe the way the girls' relationship has changed as they have aged. The Eisen twins discuss what has set them apart— cancer.

Power of Two (02:52)

When one twin gets cancer, the other is deeply affected emotionally. Spector theorizes that cancer in one twin and not another could occur because of gene mutations related to epigenetics.

Strength in Numbers (02:18)

When performing together, Kevin and Andrew do not use safety nets, relying on each other to prevent a dangerous fall. The Eisen twins talk about Linda going through treatment for leukemia.

Secondhand Pain (03:42)

Linda is going through chemotherapy for leukemia and gets news that she will be receiving a stem cell transplant. Leora describes the guilt and pain she has elicited from the experience of watching her sister go through treatment.

Unconditional Love (02:00)

Sets of twins speak praises about one another. Linda and Leora describe their unconditional love. Linda later died in July 2013.

Credits: Two of a Kind (01:14)

Credits: Two of a Kind

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Two of a Kind

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Identical twins have long been researchers’ favorite guinea pigs because they hold the key to answering one of the greatest scientific questions of our time: nature or nurture? World-renowned genetic epidemiologist Dr. Tim Spector recently found out that by probing twins’ differences, rather than their similarities, we can learn how the environment and heredity interact to actually change our genes! Research on epigenetics could help solve medical mysteries and lead to new treatments for all.

Length: 89 minutes

Item#: BVL114796

ISBN: 978-1-68272-816-1

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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