When choosing a partner his face means to us more than our body, women can “read on the face” information about male fertility, and the longer the relationship, the more partners become similar to each other in appearance – this is the conclusion reached by American scientists. Is all this really true?
Imagine that we could assemble our dream partner like a construction set by selecting the right “parts” from a catalog. What facial features would we highlight among the others? What do we find attractive in the “body” section? Researchers Karin Perilloux and Jayme Cloud asked these questions of 260 American subjects. Heterosexual participants between the ages of 20 and 75 were asked to “assemble” two optimal partners: one for a short-term affair and one for a long-term relationship.
Respondents did not need to be guided by the model faces and bodies of athletes, the task was different: each had a certain number of points, which they could distribute on ten physical qualities. Scientists divided the subjects into two groups, giving them a different number of points: the “rich” had 70 points, the “poor” had only 30, so the latter had to be more economical.
Face in Focus
The results of the experiment showed that both women and men preferred an attractive face to a handsome body, regardless of whether it was a short- or long-term relationship. With one exception: once men had a limited amount of “experimental money” and, consequently, fewer opportunities to model the ideal woman, they chose a mistress (but not a life partner), paying attention mainly to attractive body shapes rather than to the face.
Karin Perilloux and Jayme Cloud attribute this to our biology, which has stood the test of evolution. According to their thesis, men, following an archaic program, pay attention to a potential partner’s broad hips, “promising” reproductive success. And among female respondents with a “low budget” there was just a tendency to choose a beautiful face – perhaps because women are more subtle in reading nature’s cues: “Previous studies have shown that women can draw accurate conclusions about fertility from a man’s face”.
But biopsychologist Peter Walshburger disagrees. He believes that for women, a partner’s appearance is not as important as it is for men. “Women are not as receptive to visual stimuli as men,” he believes. They unconsciously look for a reliable person with whom they can feel safe, and in the first place they recognize in a man a protector.
Fall in love at first sight?
Although lovers like to emphasize the importance of each other’s spiritual values, citing the consonance of souls they were able to feel from the first minutes, in fact the true “trigger” is appearance. “30% of our brain is exclusively involved in the processing of visual stimuli,” explains Andreas Bartels, head of the research group from the University of Tübingen (Germany).
The feeling of love often occurs at first sight.
At the same time, men prefer women with smooth, “soft” faces, and women like prominent, special faces. A significant role in the typical male and typical female appearance is played by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.
Is an outward resemblance a sign of great love?
Upon seeing the resemblance between a dog and its owner, many of us involuntarily smile. But do we look for similarities not only in our pets, but also in our partners? It would seem strange, and it is believed that we are attracted mainly to opposites. But partners who live together for a long time, are indeed surprisingly similar. And scientists have found out why.
Similarity seems to play an important role at the start of the relationship – the choice of partner. We often fall in love with people whose facial features resemble our own. Similar eyes, the same look evoke in us trust, affection and sympathy. Scientists offer a logical explanation: external similarity subconsciously makes people who look like us “related,” “corresponding to us,” as if we have close DNA. In this way, our body is looking for the perfect partner to reproduce with.
It seems that people who laugh a lot with each other eventually get the same wrinkles on their faces – “traces” of laughter
Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at photos of partners in long-term unions. The results were impressive: partners who have been in a relationship longer than 25 years often look very similar to each other (although that may be due to the same diet and lifestyle). But the researchers were surprised by something else: the partners, describing their relationship as happy, show even more striking external similarity – to the extent that you would think that this is a brother and sister.
Scientists have found a beautiful explanation for this phenomenon: it seems that people who laugh a lot with each other over time on the face appear the same wrinkles – “traces” of laughter. Or – the seal of a common happy life.