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week 3

Response to Dominus’ “Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?”

Susan Dominus wrote the article “Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?” which was published on May 25, 2011. Twins Krista and Tatiana Hogan are craniopagus, meaning joined at the head, or more specifically, the thalamus. The thalamus is a portion of the brain responsible for processing sensory information. Because the girls share their thalamus, it appears in a number of neurologically-magical instances that they aware of what the other one senses, by for instance sight, touch, or taste, reacting to the stimuli without themselves being exposed to it. The family dynamic of the Hogans is that entirely infused with love and acceptance, that began the moment mother Felicia Simms discovered that she was carrying conjoined twins and 100% dismissed the option of terminating the pregnancy. She and the grandparents, also involved in much of the nurturing process for the girls, insist on the normality, so to speak, and yet, at the same time, exceptionality of the sisters’ relationship.

I appreciate how Dominus approached learning about the girls with a completely non-judgmental open mind, like an ethnographer studying the most foreign of cultures. I also agree with what Mimi said about the author skillfully making the article read more informally rather than a scientific journal or a full-on sob story. It is apparent in the wide variety of views in the reader comments that the article maintained a neutral tone. However I did find Dominus to be a little prying at times, making digs at the possibility of less pleasant relationship dynamics within the family, such as whether the freedom of the non-conjoined siblings represent a superiority to Krista and Tatiana, and whether Simms somehow could favor the other children over the twins, seeing them as a burden. While I understand that Dominus brought these up as mere speculations and not accusations, I still thought it was tip-toeing the border of propriety. On the other hand, Dominus made a come-back in my opinion of her by continually hinting at a philosophical debate regarding the definitions of consciousness and the concept of self.



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