While the idea no doubt remains conceptually gross to many, a growing body of research is finding that women tend to prefer romantic partners who have physical features that resemble their male family members. In a new study published in the Evolution and Human Behavior Journal, researchers asked participants to rank the facial similarity of images of men — leaving the participants unaware that the point of comparison was actually a photo of a volunteer’s brother. Presented with photos of four men — three of which were random and one of which was the volunteer’s romantic partner — participants were asked to choose which photo most closely resembled the volunteer’s brother. At a rate above chance, the researchers found, participants chose the volunteer’s partner.
“Although siblings themselves are sexually aversive, sibling resemblance is not,” the researchers wrote. “The affective responses of disgust and attraction may be calibrated to distinguish close kin from individuals with some genetic dissimilarity during partner choice.”
Speaking to The Independent, lead researcher Tamsin Saxton said that the findings should not be construed as “a rule,” but that women do seem to show some preference for features akin to their male siblings. Noting that previous research had also found that people favor partners who look like their parents, Saxton said that “familiarity seems to be attractive” — an edict that she claimed applies not only to appearances, but to personal views and interests.
Read the full story at The Independent.