Wednesday, 03 Sep, 2008 Science

Men Pick Girlfriends that Look Like Their Mother, Scientists Say


A new study on facial similarities between romantic partners and their parents revealed that men tend to date girls that look like their mother and women pick boyfriends that look like their fathers. The results of the study were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Together with his colleagues, Tamas Bereczkei, a biologist at the University of Pecs, Hungary, analyzed the faces of 67 young, long-term couples from the upper mentioned university. They also estimated the facial proportions of each parent, including the ratio of face length to width, the length of nose to face height and the mouth width to height.

The numbers showed that the face of a woman's boyfriend has almost the same proportions as the face of her father. The most amazing correlation researchers found when analyzing the center of the face, including the ration between nose length to face height and the width of the eyes to face height.

In addition, scientists found that men were most likely to have girlfriends whose faces looked more like the faces of their mothers. However, in this case men focused more on the face's lower part, meaning that similarities were found in the rations between jaw and face width as well as lip height and width.

The results of the study hint at a process called sexual imprinting. It is well documented in animals, and just starting to emerge from studies made on humans. Being exposed to adults, young animals try to choose mates that look like their parents.

The same process might as well discourage animals from choosing mates that resemble their parents, which could be quite useful in case the environmental conditions change or disease goes offs. Such process is called optimal inbreeding.

Despite the fact that studies in animals have discovered the same kind of opposite sex imprinting, scientists are still unaware of how the mechanism of imprinting-like phenomenon works in humans, Bereczkei mentioned.

Source: Newscientist

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