Twins and Doubles

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The Singh Twins are two sisters who are not only identical twins, but have created a successful career as a single artist. They will be telling us what it means to interpret the world through double vision. Also, psychologist Nancy Segal who has been studying identical Chinese twins separated at birth, and Nicholas Royle, a novelist and professor of literature, takes us into the unsettling world of doubles and alter egos in fiction.

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44 minutes

Last on

Mon 6 Jan 2014 03:06 GMT

The Singh Twins

The Singh Twins

The Singh Twins are identical twin sisters and leading contemporary artists, whose work has been the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions in Britain, the United States, Canada, and the National Gallery of Modern art in both Delhi and Mumbai in India.  The twins, Amrit and Rabindra, who present themselves as one artist, paint together on a single canvas and work in the traditional Indian style: part of the reason for this, they say, is to challenge the notion of individuality in art and society, and the perceived duality of East and West, tradition and modernity. 

The Singh Twins: EnTWINed

The Singh Twins: EnTWINed

Nancy Segal

Nancy Segal

Nancy Segal is an award winning American developmental psychologist who specialises in the study of twins.  She is currently Professor of Psychology at California State University and director of the Twin Studies Centre which she founded in 1991. Recently, she has studied twins alongside pairs of unrelated individuals who look alike to find out to what extent personality is genetically influenced. She is also currently conducting ongoing research on Chinese twins reared apart in different countries. She is the author of a number of books on twins, her latest is Born Together-Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study

Nicholas Royle

Nicholas Royle

Nicholas Royle is a Professor of Literature at Sussex University and the author of the novel Quilt. He has written widely on the topic of the double, and also has his own real life double, his namesake Nicholas Royle, with whom he often gets mixed up. He traces our fascination with doubles back to the 19th century to when photography was invented, because what photography does is create a double of ourselves. But he argues doubles can be comforting and disturbing in equal measure: on the one hand, the double offers an assurance of immortality - if I can be repeated, I can go on forever; on the other hand, if there is a double of me, it can threaten my identity and who am I then? 

60 Second Idea

Nancy Segal suggests that parents of twins should be offered two for one discounts – for everything, from clothing and travel costs to college education. Families would need to qualify based on their annual income, but this should make a huge difference to the experience of having twins. 

Next week

A child’s development, specifically what is going on in a young child’s brain. Plus when is it that a baby or a young child develops a moral sense? With cognitive neuroscientist Annette Karmiloff-Smith, psychologist Paul Bloom and writer Lesley Beake. 

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