A Virtual Conversation with Nancy Segal, Author of
Deliberately Divided: Inside the Controversial Study of Twins and Triplets Adopted Apart
Thursday, October 14, at 7 PM EDT on Zoom
Science Writers in New York welcomes Nancy Segal (@nlsegal) who will talk to SWINY co-chair David Levine (@dlloydlevine) about her new book Deliberately Divided: Inside the Controversial Study of Twins and Triplets Adopted Apart (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, November 2021), which takes the first in-depth look at the New York City adoption agency that separated twins and triplets in the 1960s and the controversial and disturbing study that tracked the children’s development while never telling their adoptive parents that they were raising a “singleton twin.” She will also talk about the film Three Identical Strangers, which told this story.
In the early 1960s, the head of a prominent New York City Child Development Center and a psychiatrist from Columbia University launched a study designed to track the development of twins and triplets given up for adoption and raised by different families. The controversial and disturbing catch? None of the adoptive parents had been told that they were raising a twin—the study’s investigators insisted that the separation be kept secret. Here, Nancy Segal reveals the inside stories of the agency that separated the twins, and the collaborating psychiatrists who, along with their cadre of colleagues, observed the twins until they turned twelve. This study, far outside the mainstream of scientific twin research, was not widely known to scholars or the general public until it caught the attention of documentary filmmakers whose recent films, Three Identical Strangers and The Twinning Reaction, left viewers shocked, angered, saddened and wanting to know more.
Interviews with colleagues, friends and family members of the agency’s psychiatric consultant and the study’s principal investigator, as well as a former agency administrator, research assistants, journalists, ethicists, attorneys, and—most importantly—the twins and their families who were unwitting participants in this controversial study, are riveting. Through records, letters and other documents, Segal further discloses the investigators’ attempts to engage other agencies in separating twins, their efforts to avoid media exposure, their worries over informed consent issues in the 1970s and the steps taken toward avoiding lawsuits while hoping to enjoy the fruits of publication. Segal’s spellbinding stories of the twins’ separation, loss and reunion offers readers the behind-the-scenes details that, until now, have been lost to the archives of history.
About Nancy Segal
Nancy Segal, PhD, is a professor of psychology at California State University, Fullerton, and director of the Twin Studies Center there, which she founded in 1991. She has authored approximately 200 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as six books about twins and twin research, including Accidental Brothers: The Story of Twins Exchanged at Birth and the Power of Nature and Nurture. She is a twin herself.
Dr. Segal’s website: https://drnancysegaltwins.org/
Watch her on YouTube: What Studying Twins Can Teach Us about Ourselves, with Nancy Segal, PhD
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Thursday, October 14
7 to 8 pm EDT