We’ve all heard that needlepoint philosophy about finding a second self in your friend. Well, what about in your boyfriend? According to a study out of the University of Illinois, people are more likely to find others sexually attractive if they in some way resemble our parents or ourselves.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Ew! But putting the whole incest construct aside for a moment, think about your parents. If they’re still together, or were for a while, do you remember anyone ever telling them they sorta look like? And then think back to the partner of yours from the past (or present!) to whom you were the most physically attracted. Did this person happen to have your coloring? A comparable body type to you? Do you see where I’m going here?
Psych.org spells out in layman’s terms: “…a new study led by Fraley suggests there may also be a psychological component in which we align ourselves with our kin, who are genetically close to us.” The research for this article was compiled from three experiments. In one, participants were shown a stranger’s face for a split second; half of these people were also flashed a photo of their own opposite-gender parent. Those who had been shown a photo of their parent were more likely to find the stranger sexually attractive. Hm!
Number two involved morphing photos. The control group viewed face morphs of two total strangers; the other subjects unknowingly were shown face morphs consisting of up to 45% of their OWN face. Well, you guessed it: “In this experiment the subjects shown images containing their own face found the picture more sexually attractive.”
The third experiment sought to prove that cultural incest taboo would make less people find their own composites attractive. Subjects were again shown face morphs, but those who knew that the ones they were being shown contained their own faces ended up rating it less sexually attractive.
Conclusion? You know how many of us want a Jewish partner, or a blue-eyed, or tall, or otherwise specified mate? Some of this is important for cultural reasons and so that we will have shared interests. Some of it may be plain old instinct telling us that us that people who look like us are gorgeous. Match Girl is a little fuzzy on the details, but finds this compelling nonetheless!