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Lacombe, P. (1959). The Problem of the Identical Twin as Reflected in a Masochistic Compulsion to Cheat. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 40:6-12.

(1959). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 40:6-12

The Problem of the Identical Twin as Reflected in a Masochistic Compulsion to Cheat

Pierre Lacombe, M.D.

Ne me demande rien; le jour où je suis né J'avais commis mon crime et j'étais condamné.

VICTOR HUGO (Les Jumeaux)

As Freud (3) has stated in An Outline of Psycho-analysis, 'the determining causes of all the varying forms of human mental life are to be looked for in the interplay between inherited dispositions and accidental experiences.' The importance of studying identical twins, in an effort to evaluate the relative influence of those inherited and environmentally conditioned factors, is therefore self-evident.

Authors such as Heinz Hartmann (4) and more recently Dorothy Burlingham (1) have observed a certain number of pairs of identical twins and reported on their study. But the published material of actual psycho-analyses of identical twins is rather limited.

The paper by Douglas W. Orr (7) deals with 'A Psychoanalytic Study of a Fraternal Twin', not of an identical one. Herbert Cronin (2), in his 1933 paper, 'An Analysis of the Neuroses of Identical Twins', comes to the conclusion that for the pair analyzed 'twinship was a distinct handicap … and from it arose the intrapsychic conflict precipitating the situations that led up to their neuroses.'

On the other hand, in his 1946 paper, 'The Psychoanalysis of Identical Twins with Reference to Inheritance', Endre Petö (8) feels that 'the results are anything but ambiguous.' Further psycho-analytical observations seem, therefore, very desirable before considering any conclusion.

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