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She bore a striking resemblance to her then-boyfriend, Greg — from their hair colors and complexions down to their facial expressions — and for years, people had commented that they looked related. Their worries turned out to be for nothing, and the New Hampshire couple married last year.
Lookalike couples have captured public fascination for years. Back inscientists from the University of Michigan set out to study the phenomenon of married couples who grow to look more alike over time. Their theory, which scientists still cite today, was that decades of shared emotions result in a closer resemblance due to similar wrinkles and expressions.
But how do so many lookalikes end up together in the first place? Despite the old notion that opposites attract, Indianapolis-based social psychologist Justin Lehmiller, who is a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and author of Tell Me What You Wantsays people naturally gravitate toward people who are familiar, even though the whole process is likely subconscious.
That phenomenon extends to appearance. One study found that to be true. Both male and female participants consistently rated the composite that included their own face as the most attractive. An earlier study reached a similar Married looking for someone similar about composite images — and also found that people were subliminally attracted to features of their opposite-sex parent. Study participants rated images of others as more attractive when a picture of their opposite-sex parent quickly flashed across the screen first, suggesting that they were subconsciously primed by the familiar face.
Another study looking at biracial people found that they tended to be attracted to and pair up with people who resemble their parents, regardless of sex.
Zara Barrie, a year-old writer who lives in New York City, says she dated at least three women who looked like her. Barrie is now married to a woman who she says looks nothing like her. Lookalike partners may also be drawn to each other, subliminally, because of their genes. Plenty of studies have found that spouses tend to be more genetically similar than strangers, sharing predictors of everything from height to educational attainment.
Both of these tendencies could feasibly translate to physical similarities within a couple. Ben Domingue, an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education who has studied genetic similarity between spouses and friendssays genetically matched folks tend to find each other because of social, cultural or environmental common ground.
That was true for the Brunners, who met while students at Syracuse University. But both Domingue and Lehmiller say that phenomenon may be changing, as old notions of dating are replaced Married looking for someone similar more fluid ones. For one thing, people are getting married later in life and traveling farther for education and work, giving them more opportunities to find and pair up with people from different backgrounds. Online dating is also starting to change the game, Domingue says.
With potential mates only a swipe away, people are no longer limited to finding a partner within their social circle or immediate environment, he explains. And while some experts have pointed out that dating app filters that allow people to sort by race or religion enforce biases and homogeneity, other research suggests that online dating has overall led to more diverse couples.
While the U. Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie. By Jamie Ducharme. Get our Health Newsletter. up to receive the latest health and science news, plus answers to wellness questions and expert tips.
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