The weird science behind couples who look alike
It turns out opposites don't actually attract
Everyone has either been in or knows of a relationship in which the partners look like they could be siblings. They have the same smile or move with the same posture or look at each other with the same eyes. It's creepy, but it's also much more common than the widely believed "opposites attract" myth.
Yes, it's true, we are attracted to people who look like us. Even worse, we're attracted to people who look like our parents.
A 2010 study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin asked participants to rate the general sexual attractiveness of strangers. When photos of the strangers were morphed with the participants' faces (up to 45%), subjects found the photograph blended with their own face to be the most attractive of all, not even noticing the similarity. Higher ratings of attractiveness were also given to photos of strangers that were preceded by a very short glimpse of the subjects' own opposite-sex parent. Gross!
But if you think about it, being attracted to your own face and genes makes a lot of sense. As humans, we're comfortable with what we know, and that's usually our own face. When we can read other people's faces with perceived success, that makes us feel more willing to trust them, and it makes them more attractive to us.
Think of that romantic trope of meeting someone you feel like you've known your whole life...it might just be because they have a face that resembles your own, which you have indeed known your whole life!
Attraction to familiarity has been proven time and time again. Statistician Emma Pierson looked at one million matches made by dating site eHarmony's algorithm, and found that people are not just interested in people with traits similar to their own, but actively seek them out. Another study from the University of Western Ontario even found that when this law of attraction played out with identical twins, even their non-related partners often resembled one another closely.
So, what if you are with someone you don't really resemble? Don't worry, you will. Give it time. A psychologist from the University of Michigan analyzed photographs of newlyweds as compared to portraits taken 25 years later, and found that while young couples weren't always facially similar, more participants thought the couples looked much more similar later on in the relationship. Again, while a little creepy, it makes sense that you would start to look like someone with whom you've shared experiences and expressions for over two decades.
Brad Pitt seems to have mastered this technique of resembling his partners, and it turns out it could actually be very successful. Go forth, and embrace your narcissist!
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