Kayla Y Kellie Bingham they are used to being in sync. After all, they are identical twinsand they thought that this explained why they have the same manners, both played in the midfield and made the same decision to study the career to be doctors of the Medical University of South Carolina.
Their similarities never got them into trouble until they were called into the university administrator’s office in May 2016, about a week after their end-of-year exams. Kayla and Kellie had submitted test documents with what supervisors considered unusual similarities. In 296 of 307 questions, they had written the same answers. In 54 of them, they wrote down the same wrong answers.
In the words of the administrator, that “did not look good.”
“He told us that they accused us of academic dishonesty,” Kayla, 31, told The Washington Post. “We were floored.”
The sisters bingham were investigated by a college honor board, who ruled that they had collaborated in their examinations. They appealed and overturned the decision. They then took the university to court.
Your argument?: That University Medical Center (MUSC) should have known that identical twins often perform similarly on tests. A psychology professor testified that Kayla’s and Kellie’s similar scores could be explained by their genetic profiles. In November, a jury sided with the twins, awarding them a total of $1.5 million in damages.
Kayla said that the university defamed her and her sister, and that the accusations derailed their dreams of becoming doctors.
“I just broke down,” he said. “It was the worst moment of my life.”
The MUSC and lawyers for the university declined to comment with The Postciting post-trial motions challenging the verdict that has yet to be decided.
Nancy Segalthe professor who testified in the Binghams’ case, said many people don’t realize how similar identical twins can behave.
“We are all brought up to believe, and rightly so, in individual differences in behavior and appearance,” Segal said in an interview. “When people meet two people who look so much alike and act the same way, it intrigues them. It goes against the way they think the world works.”
Segal, who teaches at the California State University in fullerton and directs the Twin Study Center from the university, says research shows that identical twins are more alike in IQ scores and specific mental strengths and weaknesses than fraternal twins or people who aren’t related.
In her court testimony, Segal referenced a 1990 study she co-authored with researchers at the University of Minnesota who subjected more than 100 pairs of identical and fraternal twins to 50 hours of medical and psychological evaluation. The study found that identical twins, even those raised apart, exhibited a strong correlation on several tests to measure the verbal and non-verbal intelligence. Identical twins raised together, such as Kayla and Kellie, exhibited the strongest correlation.
“Identical twins tend to show similar patterns, similar test-taking behaviors, similar wrong answers, because they process information in the same way,” Segal told The Post.
Tony Vernon, a psychologist who teaches and studies behavioral genetics at the Mount Royal University in Canada, agreed that the Binghams’ results were not unusual for identical twins. He saw similar trends, he said, when three sets of identical twins took his statistics classes.
“What would have amazed me would have been if one of them had failed the exam and the other had gotten a 90. [por ciento]Vernon said.
According to court documents, the MUSC alleged that after noting similar test scores from the twins in an audit of the first part of the exam, a proctor observed that the two sat next to each other and appeared to be “nodding unusually.” and writing notes that looked like attempts to communicate with each other in the margins of their scratch paper. The university sent the test scores to a data forensics company, Caveon, which reported that the chances of two similar tests being completed independently were “lower than a person winning four consecutive lotteries for Power Ball”.
Kayla said she believes the supervisor who noticed the twins’ behavior had “created confirmation bias” after seeing their similar test scores, adding that her and Kellie’s grade point averages in college and high school , as well as their SAT scores (test of admission of the universities of USA) and the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) were all very similar. In testimony, Segal said that Caveon’s analysis should have taken into account the fact that Kayla and Kellie were identical twins.
In November, a jury found in favor of the Bingham sisters in defamation claims, awarding them $750,000 each in damages. Earlier this month, the MUSC filed post-trial motions to challenge both the ruling and the amount of damages established by the jury.
Kayla and Kellie said they withdrew from MUSC in 2016 on the recommendation of a dean after experiencing hostility from other students following investigation of their exams. They moved to Florida together, returned to South Carolina after choosing to study law and now both work as government affairs advisers at the same law firm in Columbia, South Carolina.
They also came to all those decisions separately, Kayla insists. She was a little surprised, she said, since she thought Kellie would find it difficult to come off the medicine.
“I’m not speaking for her,” Kayla said. “But with that being said, I also know her better than anyone in the world.”
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