Intrapair differences in personality and cognitive ability among young monozygotic twins distinguished by chorion type

Behav Genet. 1995 Sep;25(5):457-66. doi: 10.1007/BF02253374.


We evaluated placentation effects on behavioral resemblance of 44 pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twin children. Tested at ages 4-6, the twins' zygosity and placental type had been determined at their delivery. The sample included 23 monochorionic (MC) and 21 dichorionic (DC) MZ twin pairs: DC-MZ twins result from separation of blastomeres within 72 h of ovulation; MC-MZ twins arise from later duplication of the inner cell mass. Twins were individually administered the McCarthy Scales of Cognitive Ability, while their mothers separately rated each cotwin on an individualized 280-item form of the Personality Inventory for Children (PIC). Absolute differences between MC-MZ cotwins were smaller than those between DC-MZ cotwins for all 20 PIC scales, significantly so for 3 of 4 factor scales, 8 of 12 clinical scales, and 2 of 4 validity/screening scales from the PIC; in contrast, no consistent differences in intrapair resemblance of mono- and dichorionic MZ twins were found for the McCarthy Scales. The chorion differences found in the PIC data cannot be due to genetic differences, because all pairs are monozygotes; nor are they associated with differences in parity, gestational age, birth weight, maternal education, palmar dermatoglyphic asymmetry, or maternal knowledge of chorion type. We interpret our findings as suggestive evidence that variation in timing of embryological division, with effects on MZ twins' placental vasculature, has significant consequences for some dimensions of their behavioral development, as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / genetics*
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Personality / genetics*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Phenotype
  • Placentation / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / psychology


  • Genetic Markers