Twinning Reaction

Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI


Lawrence Perlman

Ann Arbor−based psychologist; On-screen subject, THE TWINNING REACTION and THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS


Michael Jibson

Professor of Psychiatry, University of Michigan


Kayte Spector-Bagdady

Chief of the Research Ethics Service, Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, University of Michigan ; Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan Medical School

The Twinning Reaction— The ethics of scientific research

Three experts in psychiatry, bioethics, and the consequences of twin studies discuss the ethical questions raised by scientific research and the moral boundaries scientists place on the pursuit of knowledge.

Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI

Film Synopsis

An inside look at the dangers of medical arrogance and the enduring bonds of twinship, the film follows a tragic 1960s human research experiment that separated identical twins in infancy and secretly studied their lives as they grew up unaware of their siblings.

The Twinning Reaction examines the profound human toll of a tragically failed research experiment in the 1960s. The Neubauer-Bernard study involved the separation of identical twins and triplets during infancy in a misguided attempt to understand nature versus nurture. Legally and ethically dubious at the time, and monstrous by today’s standards, the long-term effects of the study on the children were dramatic and often heartbreaking.

The documentary tells the stories of four sets of identical twins and triplets who were separated by the Louise Wise Services adoption agency with the support of NYC based Jewish Family Services. Some of these twins and triplets have reunited by sheer luck, others through the filmmaker’s years of research. In searching for answers, this inside look at the consequences of medical arrogance finally gives voice to those who suffered the broken bond of twinship.