You may have noticed that some couples have similarities in their facial features. Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom conducted a unique study that explains why people with similar faces tend to find each other more attractive.
The study included 682 participants who met each other in three-minute interactions, like traditional speed dating. After the meetings, participants were asked to rate each other on attractiveness and character.
A photo of each participant was taken to conduct an analysis of “facial averageness,” that is, how close their facial structure was to the geometric mean for their gender. Interestingly, participants rated partners with geometrically average faces and faces similar to their own as more attractive.
The study also showed that participants received higher ratings of facial attractiveness from partners of the same ethnicity than from other ethnic groups.
Amy Zhao, a graduate student at the University of Queensland who led the study, noted that people with similar facial features thought each other were kinder, regardless of ethnicity. This supports the theory that attractiveness can be related not only to physical traits, but also to a partner’s personality perception.
Physical attraction is an important part of a romantic relationship, and understanding the mechanisms of attraction can help to facilitate and maintain that relationship. Dr. Anthony Lee, co-author of the study, emphasized that forming meaningful relationships with others is a fundamental human need.
It is interesting to note that the results of this study coincide with previous laboratory studies. They also address the limitations of past studies in which participants evaluated faces on a computer screen.
However, it should be noted that the study only included heterosexual participants, so it is not clear if these results will be replicated in other populations. The authors of the study also acknowledge the limitations of the metrics used for facial analysis and suggest using participant profile images or three-dimensional images for more comprehensive results.
The study confirms that attractiveness can be related not only to physical traits, but also to perceptions of a partner’s personality. This may help people better understand attraction mechanisms and create more harmonious relationships.