Sunday, January 16, 2011

Twins Socialize in Womb at 14 Weeks

Humans have a deep-seated urge to be social, and new research on the interactions of twins in the womb suggests this begins even before babies are born.

-- From "Twin fetuses learn how to be social in the womb" by Lin Edwards, Psychology & Psychiatry 10/13/10

Researchers from the University of Padova in Italy have been studying pregnancies involving twins. Leader of the team, psychologist Umberto Castiello, explained that newborns appear to be already "wired" to interact socially with other humans soon after birth, and previous research has demonstrated that within only a few hours after birth babies can imitate gestures of people around them and make other social interactions. Studying twins in the womb made it possible to see investigate the pre-wired hypothesis and see if socialization was already apparent while still in the womb.

The study, which was published in the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One), used four-dimensional ultrasonography to make 3D videos of twins at 14 and 18 weeks of gestation. The five pairs of twins were found to be reaching for each other even at 14 weeks, and making a range of contacts including head to head, arm to head and head to arm. By the time they were at 18 weeks, they touched each other more often than they touched their own bodies, spending up to 30 percent of their time reaching out and stroking their co-twin.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Wired to Be Social: The Ontogeny of Human Interaction" by Umberto Castiello et al., posted at Public Library of Science One 10/7/11

Newborns come into the world wired to socially interact. Is a propensity to socially oriented action already present before birth? Twin pregnancies provide a unique opportunity to investigate the social pre-wiring hypothesis. Although various types of inter-twins contact have been demonstrated starting from the 11th week of gestation, no study has so far investigated the critical question whether intra-pair contact is the result of motor planning rather then the accidental outcome of spatial proximity.

We conclude that performance of movements towards the co-twin is not accidental: already starting from the 14th week of gestation twin foetuses execute movements specifically aimed at the co-twin.

To read the research study, CLICK HERE.

From "Unborn twins interact with each other as early as 14 weeks" by Thaddeus Baklinski, 1/12/11

“We demonstrate that by the 14th week of gestation twin foetuses do not only display movements directed towards the uterine wall and self-directed movements, but also movements specifically aimed at the co-twin, the proportion of which increases between the 14th and 18th gestational week,” the scientists stated.

“Starting from the 14th week of gestation twin foetuses plan and execute movements specifically aimed at the co-twin,” the authors wrote, stating that “when the context enables it, as in the case of twin foetuses, other-directed actions are not only possible but predominant over self-directed actions.” The findings provided quantitative empirical evidence that unborn babies are very much aware of their surroundings and of the presence of a twin with them in their mother’s womb, said the researchers.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.