Does Your Partner Look Like Your Opposite Sex Parent?
By: Beth McHugh 2008
Scientists have now demonstrated a statistically significant link between the facial appearance of a person's partner and that of their opposite sex parent. So when Cole Porter penned the song "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" he was merely presenting in verse what folklore has known for centuries. And now the scientists have come up to speed by presenting quantifying evidence for this phenomenon.
Researchers at the University of Pecs in Hungary have found in their investigations that males tend to be attracted to women who look like their mother, and conversely, women are drawn to men who displayed similar facial configurations to those of their father.
The study, which was led by Tamas Bereczkei, showed that heterosexual couples are attracted to individuals whose facial structures are similar to that of their opposite sex parent. Various criteria were used to determine just what represented facial similarity. Factors such as width of forehead, width of jaw, distance between eyes and distance between mouth and brow, for example, were examined. In all 14 facial zones were included in the study to determine the degree of similarity between an individual's partner and the opposite sex parent.
Research has suggested that the phenomena of choosing a life partner similar in appearance to that of the opposite sex parent was based on evolutionary reasons. While incest is both a societal and genetic no-go zone, marrying an individual who resembles the opposite sex parent may be an inborn genetic trait which "may confer individuals with additional adaptive advantages". In short, choosing a partner who looks like a member of your own family may enhance both happiness and fertility rates.
The study found that "couples who are similar in physical and psychological characteristics are more likely to remain together than dissimilar partners, possibly leading to an increase in fertility".
Not surprisingly, males and females focused on different parts of their partner’s face when seeking a potential mate. For example, men tend to choose women who have similar shaped lips to their mothers, both in width and fullness. There is also a correlation between length and width of jaw.
Women on the other hand tend to focus on the distance between the mouth
and the brow, the overall height of the face, the distance between the
eyes and the size of the potential partner’s nose.