We Tend To Select Romantic Partners Who Look Like Our Parents

We Tend To Select Romantic Partners Who Look Like Our Parents

Throughout the animal kingdom, scientists have found that early caregiving experiences shape later patterns of sexual attraction.

For example, if you ever took an Introductory Psychology course, you probably learned about Konrad Lorenz’s discovery that baby geese “imprint” on the first moving object they see shortly after birth, meaning they treat that object as if it were their mother and start following it around [1]. Perhaps your textbook even included some adorable photos of Lorenz being trailed by a gaggle of geese that had imprinted on him. However, what’s even more fascinating than this is that, when they grew up, these geese would attempt to mate with human men that physically resembled Lorenz himself—in this case, white dudes with big white beards!

This isn’t a phenomenon unique to geese, though—something similar happens in humans. I know some of you will find this creepy, but humans have a tendency to select romantic partners who physically resemble their childhood caretakers.

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