Why do some couples look physically similar? Science Answers

It has long been speculated that couples become physically similar because of the time they spend together. However, recent research suggests that this similarity has deeper roots and begins with the initial attraction between people with similar characteristics.

In 1987, psychologist Robert Zajonc of the University of Michigan proposed that couples develop physical similarities over time due to their shared environment and synchronized activities. However, recent studies by Ben T. McCorn and Michal Kosinski of Stanford University challenge this idea. According to their research, people initially tend to be attracted to individuals with similar physical traits, rather than developing similarities over time.

Psychologist Justin Lehmiller explains in his book Tell Me What You Want that familiarity breeds security and trust. People subconsciously seek out partners with similar physical characteristics to their own, which may explain why some couples display a striking similarity from the start of a relationship.

Additionally, a study by Boston University School of Health and the University of California, Berkeley, that looked at three generations in Framingham, Massachusetts, found that couples of similar geographic origins tended to come together. This pattern suggests that genetics play a crucial role in mate selection. Additionally, previous studies have suggested that some people subconsciously seek out partners who physically resemble one of their parents, reinforcing the familiarity and comfort theory.

In addition to genetics and physical appearance, lifestyle and personality also influence how similar couples are. Research has shown that couples who have similar habits, such as exercise, tend to develop similar immune systems, which may also contribute to their mutual attraction.

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Although the initial similarity is great, long-term couples also show mimicry in gestures and expressions due to the time they have shared. This phenomenon can lead to an alignment of personalities and situations, increasing the perceived similarity between the two.

Studies from the University of Amsterdam suggest that similarity in personality traits, such as empathy, can be beneficial to a relationship. However, a combination of different traits can also contribute to a couple’s well-being, providing the necessary balance to relationship dynamics.

Physical similarity between couples is a complex phenomenon influenced by a combination of genetic factors, initial attraction to a familiar and shared lifestyle, and the convergence of gestures and postures over time. Although science continues to explore this topic, it is clear that both initial similarity and coevolution play crucial roles in the perception of partners.

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