Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein, who were born in New York, were astonished to discover they had been part of a bizarre social experiment.Researchers had kept them apart with different adoptive families to investigate theories over ‘nature and nurture’.
Telling their amazing story for the first time, the twins, said they might have remained oblivious if Elyse, who had been living in Paris, had not decided to look for her birth mother.
She was told that her biological mother didn’t want to meet her, but that she had an identical twin named Paula.
The pair then discovered they had been part of research conducted by psychologists – thought to be the only study of its kind on twins separated from infancy.
The twins told yesterday how the experiment was so secret that not even their adoptive parents were told the full truth.
They were told only that the children were part of an ongoing study.
Paula said: ‘They neglected to tell them [the adoptive parents] the key element of the study, which is that it was about child development among twins raised in different homes. Nature intended for us to be raised together, so I think it was a crime we were separated.’
Even though they had been separated for 35 years, the girls realized that they had many things in common.
Both edited their school newspapers, studied film at university and have been brought up by loving families.
They tracked down the psychiatrists from the study, who allegedly showed no remorse and offered no apology.