If you know (or have known) a set of identical twins, perhaps you have heard them say: “Something is wrong with my twin,” or “I just know they feel off today.” No matter the distance between the pair, it seems as if the euphoria or pain of one twin impacts the other. These events are known as anomalous experiences or interactions, which our Chief Neuroscientist Dr. Richard Silberstein defines as “the sharing or communication (through information, images, or emotions) between separate minds.”
It is not surprising that anomalous experience are of much interest in the scientific community, as they seem to go beyond our current understanding of the brain and cognition. But never before has our proprietary technology, Steady State Topography, been used to study these events in twins.
Dr. Richard Silberstein and Dr. Felicity Bigelow of our Australia office have just published the first study reporting statistically significant functional connectivity (FC) changes indicative of anomalous interactions between pairs of monozygotic (identical) twin females. FC refers to the way that separate brain regions talk to each other and synchronize activity. Significant increases or reductions in FC indicate notable activity changes in the corresponding brain regions.
The study is conducted in two phases, each where one twin acts as a “Sender” and one twin is a “Receiver.” The Sender looks at 100 images (half personally relevant, half random stock imagery). The Receiver sits in a distant room and looks at a static, personally relevant image for the duration of the session. The critical metric measured is the statistically significant event FC changes in the Receiver while the Sender looks at the 100 images.
Amazingly, Silberstein and Bigelow were able to confirm their hypothesis that the “presence of anomalous interactions between monozygotic twin pairs [was] indicated by statistically significant time dependent FC changes in the Receiver…” Somehow, the brain activity of the Sender influenced the Reciever twin who sat rooms away and had no idea what the Sender was doing or seeing.
This groundbreaking work will forever change how we approach and understand neuroscience, cognition, and the interconnectedness of human beings. If you are eager to learn more, read the full study here.