May 25, 2011

"Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?"

Whoa!
Suddenly the girls sat up again, with renewed energy, and Krista reached for a cup with a straw in the corner of the crib. “I am drinking really, really, really, really fast,” she announced and started to power-slurp her juice, her face screwed up with the effort. Tatiana was, as always, sitting beside her but not looking at her, and suddenly her eyes went wide. She put her hand right below her sternum, and then she uttered one small word that suggested a world of possibility: “Whoa!”

29 comments:

chickenlittle said...

Could conjoined twins share a mind?

It's a question of nerves isn't it?

Lyle said...

This reality of life I find terribly heart breaking.

I hope they have the most wonderful life.

dbp said...

Maybe a better way of thinking of it is; can a mind have two bodies?

Tibore said...

Oy.

"She put her hand right below her sternum, and then she uttered one small word that suggested a world of possibility: “Whoa!”"

There's a difference between sharing sensations and supposedly sharing a mind.

Tibore said...

That said, the fact that they can even share sensations is both incredible and fascinating. This is definitely worthy of study; neuroscience can be advanced well with whatever they can find out from those two.

themightypuck said...

Ironically this tests the philosophical concept of dualism.

bagoh20 said...

So someday, some poor bastard is gonna be expected to produce multiple orgasms every time.

bagoh20 said...

I don't find this shared sensation surprising, but rather expected with sharing a skull.

edutcher said...

If the brains are really separate, but they do communicate on a sensory level, it would be an interesting study for things like telepathy

Titus said...

Does this mean they could share an orgasm?

I find it fascinating about joined twins getting married and having kids.

traditionalguy said...

I always thought that the mind was more than chemical electrical signals inside a skull. It must also be an entire body's nervous system carrying around a soul that wills to do things until the moment of death. So why not share that. Married couples can share such reactions.

Patrick said...

"Twins joined at the head — the medical term is craniopagus — are one in 2.5 million, of which only a fraction survive."

Am I the only one who wonders what the fraction is? I guess this is what passes for reporting in the NYT these days.

Patrick said...

There was a set of conjoined twins in my general area. I saw them at Target and it was disconcerting at first. I pitied them at first, but really, they seemed to be doing just fine. I believe they were later separated, but I'm too lazy to try to find out. How different lie must be, to be first physically joined, and then separated.

Titus said...

I could never do one or both conjoined twins.

You know there is a fetish for wanting to have sex with conjoined twins though.

Dustin said...

It didn't occur to me that the most common theme in the comments would become sex.

It's not very funny or clever. I guess it's good compensation for people who crave attention, though.

I guess these people are just freakshows for base ridicule to some dumber folks.

LordSomber said...

Kuato is my wingman.

Alex said...

I always thought that the mind was more than chemical electrical signals inside a skull. It must also be an entire body's nervous system carrying around a soul that wills to do things until the moment of death. So why not share that. Married couples can share such reactions.

Married couples have a "shared soul"? Now I've truly read all the crap there is to be read on the intertubes.

ironrailsironweights said...

You know there is a fetish for wanting to have sex with conjoined twins though.

Gross. At times like this I'm thankful that I have a nice wholesome fetish.

Peter

Shawn L. said...

Dustin said...

" It didn't occur to me that the most common theme in the comments would become sex.

It's not very funny or clever. I guess it's good compensation for people who crave attention, though."

I take it you're not familiar with Titus yet.

Dave said...

"Gross. At times like this I'm thankful that I have a nice wholesome fetish.

Peter"

I think Titus has the same fetish.

Synova said...

The reason that they can't separate the girls is because there is too much crossover. Right?

So what is surprising about sensory crossover?

No doubt someone will try a telepathy test when they are older to see if they can tell what the other is thinking, blindfold one and have the other look at pictures or some-such. I'm sure they've already done tests like that on conjoined twins attached at their skulls.

HKatz said...

Fascinating. I wish them the best.

How much of their mind and mental processes would they share? Would it be limited to sensory impressions, or also to memories and thoughts (some of the neural circuitry recruited during recall or imagining things that aren't present are also involved in sensory perception). How much are they two separate individuals and how much are they one and the same... two people drawing on resources that are pooled to some extent?

The human brain is amazing and adaptable. Thanks for sharing this article!

Nick said...

Has anyone had the opportunity to wade through the comments? The most recommended comment, of course, is the first to proclaim that these children ought to have been killed. A NYTimes reader has made the determination that these children's lives aren't worth living.

Later comments by this poster (female?) and others flesh out the argument: they will never be normal, they will crave acceptance in ways that they will not be able to fully attain, and so it would be better to have never lived at all. Contemplate that.

plainjane said...

Godwin's law should apply to "sex" coming up in discussion...ending the discussion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

rhhardin said...

It will be easier to remember where you put the car keys.

Freeman Hunt said...

Someone should apply for a grant to pay for them to receive top flight educations. The better they learn to express themselves, the easier it will be study their unique situation. Plus, the more stimuli that goes in, the more you have to work with.

Absolutely fascinating.

Revenant said...

There's a difference between sharing sensations and supposedly sharing a mind.

Is there?

I don't think we know enough to say that there's a bright line between sensation and consciousness.

Jenny said...

The comments on this article are truly horrifying. What a broken world we live in.

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